Defects in Carbon Nanostructures

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Science  25 Mar 1994:
Vol. 263, Issue 5154, pp. 1744-1747
DOI: 10.1126/science.263.5154.1744


Previous high-resolution electron microscopy (HREM) observations of the carbon nanotubes have led to a "Russian doll" structural model that is based on hollow concentric cylinders capped at both ends. The structures of the carbon nanotubes and particles were characterized here by bulk physical and chemical property measurements. The individual nanostructure is as compressible as graphite in the c axis, and such nanostructures can be intercalated with potassium and rubidium, leading to a saturation composition of "MC8." These results are counter to expectations that are based on a Russian doll structure. HREM after intercalation with potassium and deintercalation indicates that individual nanoparticles are a "paper-mache" of smaller graphite layers. Direct current magnetization and electron spin resonance measurements indicate that the electronic properties of the nanostructures are distinctly different from those of graphite. Although the nanostructures have distinct morphologies and electronic properties, they are highly defective and have a local structure similar to turbostratic graphite.