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Keywords:

  • carbon nanotubes;
  • chirality;
  • nucleation;
  • template synthesis
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Points of view: The nucleation points of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are visualized on the atomic scale. The atomic structure of both the catalysts and the SWNTs growing from them are seen by HRTEM (see Figure) for the first time. The growth pathway extracted from a TEM image sequence demonstrates a root mechanism in SWNT growth. A best assignment of (31,14) for the chirality is obtained by means of inverse fast Fourier transform (IFFT) analysis.