Materials Science

A Nanoarea Network

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Science  30 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5475, pp. 2285
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5475.2285a

For many of their potential applications, carbon nanotubes will need to be grown defect-free and in high yield, and, if possible, regular architectures should be obtainable directly rather than through postsynthetic trimming. Franklin and Dai have now fabricated extensive networks of highly oriented, single-wall carbon nanotubes suspended on silicon towers. The authors use an enhanced chemical vapor deposition method involving a “conditioning” step in which bulk amounts of catalyst are placed upstream of the silicon towers, whose tops also expose the catalyst. The conditioning step appears to convert some methane into more reactive benzene and enhances the yield and the lengths of the nanotubes, which grow up to 150 micrometers. Most of the nanotubes bridged adjacent towers, but some extended over several silicon towers. This geometry is attributed to the differences in methane flow between the top and bottom surfaces that serves to “float” nascent nanotubes until they can attach to another tower. Electrical measurements will show whether the suspended nanotubes form a continuous, conducting network. –JU

Adv. Mater.12, 890 (2000).

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