The team, which includes scientists from the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), Beijing Normal University (BNU), both China, and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), US, has developed a catalyst-free, co-deposition and post-deposition process for tunable assembly of carbon nanospheres onto SWNTs. Applied plasma power was found to be critical for effective decomposition of the carbon source and for controlling the production of nanospheres. Furthermore, the method developed in this study also has the capacity to tailor the density and size of the carbon nanospheres along the nanotubes by controlling reaction time and heating oxidation temperature.

The new all-carbon hybrid structures of carbon nanosphere-decorated aligned and nonaligned SWNTs could be useful for applications involving electrochemical devices such as sensors, supercapacitors and batteries.

The researchers presented their work, "Tunable assembly of carbon nanospheres on single-walled carbon nanotubes", in the journal Nanotechnology.