Mechanism and Kinetics of Spontaneous Nanotube Growth Driven by Screw Dislocations

Science  23 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5977, pp. 476-480
DOI: 10.1126/science.1182977

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Single-crystal nanotubes are commonly observed, but their formation is often not understood. We show that nanotube growth can be driven by axial screw dislocations: Self-perpetuating growth spirals enable anisotropic growth, and the dislocation strain energy overcomes the surface energy required for creating a new inner surface forming hollow tubes spontaneously. This was demonstrated through solution-grown zinc oxide nanotubes and nanowires by controlling supersaturation using a flow reactor and confirmed using microstructural characterization. The agreement between experimental growth kinetics and those predicted from fundamental crystal growth theories confirms that the growth of these nanotubes is driven by dislocations.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

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