We have designed and built an exhaust-free spark discharge generator for robust aerosol CVD synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes. The systematic study has shown the generator to provide a facile and repeatable route to precisely control the size of the catalyst particle and, therefore, carbon nanotube growth. Using a comprehensive set of methods (the analysis of differential mobility of the aerosol particles, optical spectroscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and atomic force microscopy) we have revealed the relation between the defectiveness, length, diameter distribution of carbon nanotubes and specific features of a generator such as electrode characteristics (breakdown voltage, composition, and current) as well as the nature of the surrounding media (carrier gas nature, flow rate). The design used has resulted in separation of the nanoparticle formation and carbon nanotube nucleation processes. This provides a mutual independence of the growth parameters and the diameter distribution of the single-walled carbon nanotubes enhancing the scalability of the process. For instance, the breakdown voltage has been shown to have nearly zero effect on diameter and length distribution of carbon nanotubes produced while strictly governing the yield. We focus here on producing specifically short carbon nanotubes (l < 500 nm) of pronounced defectiveness for drug delivery and transistor applications.
- Aerosol CVD
- Catalyst activation
- Differential mobility analyzer
- Floating bed reactor
- Single-walled carbon nanotubes
- Spark-discharge generator