The Critical Role of the Underlayer Material and Thickness in Growing Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers on Metallic Substrates by Chemical Vapor Deposition

Authors

  • Gilbert D. Nessim,

    1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (USA)
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  • Donatello Acquaviva,

    1. Laboratory of Micro and Nanoelectronics Devices Ecole Polytechnique, Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Bât ELB 339 Station 11, 1015 Lausanne (Switzerland)
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  • Matteo Seita,

    1. Department of Materials, ETH Zürich Wolfgang-Pauli-Str., CH-8093 Zürich (Switzerland)
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  • Kevin P. O'Brien,

    1. Components Research department, Intel Corporation Hillsboro, Oregon 97124 (USA)
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  • Carl V. Thompson

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (USA)
    • Department of Materials Science and Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 (USA).
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Abstract

Vertically aligned carbon nanotubes and nanofibers are grown on metallic Ta and Pd underlayers at temperatures below 500 °C. Controlling the size of the grains of the underlayer film is critical because this leads to a more uniform distribution of catalyst dots, which in turn results in vertical alignment of the carbon nanostructures. Rapid and limited heating and appropriate materials selection can also be used to limit catalyst/underlayer reactions that hinder or suppress carbon nanostructure growth or that lead to entangled growth. Control of catalyst reactivity with metallic underlayers is significant because growth on conductive substrates is notoriously difficult, but needed for many applications such as the use of carbon nanostructures in microelectronic circuits.

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