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Keywords:

  • aluminum;
  • carbon nanotubes;
  • electron energy-loss spectroscopy;
  • electron microscopy;
  • iron
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

What took so long? An ex situ investigation of an iron–aluminum nanocatalyst that is active in the water-assisted growth of “super-long” carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with different techniques (HRSTEM, EELS, XPS, GIXRD) reveals for the first time its bimetallic nature. Besides metallic aluminum and iron, mixed oxides, hydroxides, and aluminum oxycarbides play a role in the CNT growth process.