Materials Science

Making Membranes of Nanotubes

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Science  02 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5544, pp. 959
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5544.959b

In developing new applications for carbon nanotubes (CNTs), one goal is the assembly, or preferably the growth, of CNTs into complex three-dimensional geometries. Ng et al. take advantage of soft lithographic techniques to prepare poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) molds with patterned surfaces and relief features. The PDMS surface is highly hydrophobic, but treatment with an oxygen plasma improved the wetting properties of targeted areas. A nickel catalyst precursor, applied as an aqueous solution, could then be deposited specifically on the plasma-treated areas. The CNTs were grown onto the substrate with chemical vapor deposition techniques, producing localized “mats” of protruding nanotubes. A significant number of bridging nanotubes were observed between neighboring mats, which the authors attribute to surface undulations that formed on the PDMS, because similar bridging was not observed in mats grown on Si(001) surfaces. Taking advantage of the shrinkage of the PDMS at higher temperatures, they also were able to fabricate more complicated, intertwined “membrane” structures.—MSL

Langmuir, 10.1021/la108095.

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