Applied Physics A

, Volume 72, Issue 5, pp 573–580

Growth mechanisms for single-wall carbon nanotubes in a laser-ablation process


  • C.D. Scott
    • EM2, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, USA (E-mail:
  • S. Arepalli
    • GB Tech/Lockheed Martin, P.O. Box 58561, Houston, TX 77058, USA
  • P. Nikolaev
    • GB Tech/Lockheed Martin, P.O. Box 58561, Houston, TX 77058, USA
  • R.E. Smalley
    • Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA

DOI: 10.1007/s003390100761

Cite this article as:
Scott, C., Arepalli, S., Nikolaev, P. et al. Appl Phys A (2001) 72: 573. doi:10.1007/s003390100761


Mechanisms proposed in the literature are compared with a current scenario for the formation of single-wall carbon nanotubes in the laser-ablation process that is based on our spectral emission and laser-induced fluorescence measurements. It is suggested that the carbon which serves as feedstock for nanotube formation not only comes from the direct ablation of the target, but also from carbon particles suspended in the reaction zone. Fullerenes formed in the reaction zone may be photo-dissociated into C2 and other low molecular weight species, and also may serve as feedstock for nanotube growth. Confinement of the nanotubes in the reaction zone within the laser beam allows the nanotubes to be ‘purified’ and annealed during the formation process by laser heating.

PACS: 42.62.Fi; 81.05.Tp; 82.80.Ch

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001