Growth of carbon nanotubes in arc plasma treated graphite disc: microstructural characterization and electrical conductivity study
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Circular graphite discs were treated in arc plasma by varying arcing time. Analysis of the plasma treated discs by field emission scanning electron microscope revealed globular grain morphologies on the surfaces, but when the same were observed at higher magnification and higher resolution under transmission electron microscope, growth of multiwall carbon nanotubes of around 2 nm diameter was clearly seen. In situ growth of carbon nanotube bundles/bunches consisting of around 0.7 nm tube diameter was marked in the case of 6 min treated disc surface. Both the untreated and the plasma treated graphite discs were characterized by X-ray diffraction, energy dispersive spectra of X-ray, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, micro Raman spectroscopy and BET surface area measurement. From Raman spectra, BET surface area and microstructure observed in transmission electron microscope, growth of several layers of graphene was identified. Four-point probe measurements for electrical resistivity/conductivity of the graphite discs treated under different plasma conditions showed significant increase in conductivity values over that of untreated graphite conductivity value and the best result, i.e., around eightfold increase in conductivity, was observed in the case of 6 min plasma treated sample exhibiting carbon nanotube bundles/bunches grown on disc surface. By comparing the microstructures of the untreated and plasma treated graphite discs, the electrical conductivity increase in graphite disc is attributed to carbon nanotubes (including bundles/bunches) growth on disc surface by plasma treatment.
The authors acknowledge the help and support received from their respective institutes. The principal author (BBN) worked at CSIR-IMMT, Bhubaneswar up to 29 February, 2016. A part of his work carried out within this time at the same institute is duly acknowledged.
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