Jul 27, 2010
Controlled production of all-carbon nanohybrids
One-dimensional (1D) carbon nanotubes and zero-dimensional (0D) carbon nanospheres have been studied extensively for years due to their superior properties. However, little effort has been made to controllably assemble them together and combine their unique aspects to form new all-carbon complex superstructures. Now, using plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD), spontaneous assembly of carbon nanospheres (30–60 nm) onto single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in an aligned or nonaligned fashion has been achieved.
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.
About the author
The study was conducted by research teams from BIT, BNU, and CWRU. Prof. Liangti Qu is leader of the functional nanomaterials group in the Department of Chemistry at BIT. His research focuses on the preparation and assembly of functional carbon nanomaterials and their applications in nanodevices. Prof. Liming Dai is a group leader in the Department of Chemical Engineering at CWRU. His research interests include multifunctional nanomaterials, optoelectronic macromolecules and bioinspired materials.