In-situ observations of catalyst dynamics during surface-bound carbon nanotube nucleation

S Hofmann, R Sharma, G Du, C Matteri, C Cepek, M Cantoro, C Ducati, S Pisana, A Parvez, AC Ferrari, Rafal E Dunin-Borkowski, S Lizzi, L Petaccia, A Goldoni, J Robertson

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    We present atomic-scale, video-rate environmental transmission electron microscopy and in situ time-resolved X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy of surface-bound catalytic chemical vapor deposition of single-walled carbon nanotubes and nanofibers. We observe that transition metal catalyst nanoparticles on SiOx support show crystalline lattice fringe contrast and high deformability before and during nanotube formation. A single-walled carbon nanotube nucleates by lift-off of a carbon cap. Cap stabilization and nanotube growth involve the dynamic reshaping of the catalyst nanocrystal itself. For a carbon nanofiber, the graphene layer stacking is determined by the successive elongation and contraction of the catalyst nanoparticle at its tip.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalNano Letters
    Pages (from-to)602-608
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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