Clean Technology 2009

Low-temperature synthesis of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes

A.V. Vasenkov
CFD Research Corporation, US

Keywords: Low-temperature synthesis, catalytic oxidation, inductive heating, carbon-nanotubes, multi-scale modeling, chemical vapor deposition


The low-temperature manufacturing process is critical to decrease the cost and improve the quality of Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube (VACNT)-based materials and devices. Under a NSF-funded Small Business Innovative Research project, CFD Research Corporation and NanoLab are developing a novel technology for low-temperature synthesis of VACNTs on temperature-sensitive surfaces of devices. We have demonstrated the feasibility of two complementary approaches: (1) Reducing growth temperature of VACNT by controlling the graphene layer formation and the catalyst deactivation via catalytic oxidation and (2) Selective heating of catalytic nanoparticles during VACNT growth using electromagnetic fields generated by a source operating in gigahertz frequency range. US and international PCT applications have already been filed. The low-temperature technology will remove the technical stumbling blocks currently preventing the large-scale adoption of nanotube technology. It is expected that our customers will be the manufacturers of nanotube-based Composite Materials, Thermal Interface Materials, Solar Cells, Bio and Chemical Sensors, and Field Emission Sources for high-power defense applications. The end products that we will produce are: 1) Commercial-grade reactor equipped with induction heating source operating in a tunable frequency range; and 2) Multi-scale simulator for optimizing high-coupled processes of nanotube synthesis.
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