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Sub-nanometer thin single walled carbon nanotubes: Nitrogen does the trick



The mean diameter of single wall carbon nanotubes grown by chemical vapor deposition is demonstrated to be strongly affected by the relative concentrations of ethanol and acetonitrile in the liquid feedstock. We employ zeolite supported catalyst material which yields ∼1 nm thin nanotubes with pure ethanol. By adding acetonitrile the nanotube diameters can be reduced to ∼0.85 nm. The latter empirical lower bound points at the maximum curvature at which a free nanotube is still energetically favored.