In situ measurements and modeling of carbon nanotube array growth kinetics during chemical vapor deposition
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Direct measurements of carbon nanotube growth kinetics are described based upon time-resolved reflectivity (TRR) of a HeNe laser beam from vertically aligned nanotube arrays (VANTAs) as they grow during chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Growth rates and terminal lengths were measured in situ for VANTAs growing during CVD between 535 °C and 900 °C on Si substrates with evaporated Al/Fe/Mo multi-layered catalysts and acetylene feedstock at different feedstock partial pressures. Methods of analysis of the TRR signals are presented to interpret catalyst particle formation and oxidation, as well as the porosity of the VANTAs. A rate-equation model is developed to describe the measured kinetics in terms of activation energies and rate constants for surface carbon formation and diffusion on the catalyst nanoparticle, nanotube growth, and catalyst over-coating. Taken together with the TRR data, this model enables basic understanding and optimization of growth conditions for any catalyst/feedstock combination. The model lends insight into the main processes responsible for the growth of VANTAs, the measured number of walls in the nanotubes at different temperatures, conditions for growth of single-wall carbon nanotube arrays, and likely catalyst poisoning mechanisms responsible for the sharp decline in growth rates observed at high temperatures.
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