We report a development of recently designed apparatus equipped with a spark discharge generator of catalytic nanoparticles for robust aerosol CVD synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes. We achieve a profound control over the diameter distribution and the defectiveness of carbon nanotubes produced. By providing a justified comparison of the apparatus with the most abundant aerosol CVD reactor utilizing ferrocene as a catalyst precursor, we reveal the role of the activation procedure: while spark-discharge generator provides aerosol of nanoparticles (ex situ route), the ferrocene vapor decomposes in the nanotube growth zone providing an in situ formation of the catalyst. With other parameters being equal, we reveal the differences in the nanotube growth (diameter and length distribution, yield, defectiveness) employing 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 show the ex situ activation in the spark discharge reactor to provide a lower utilization degree of the nanoparticles due to over-coagulation. However, the same method provides an independence of the key performance parameters of the nanotubes opening a room for scaling the apparatus.
- Aerosol CVD synthesis
- Catalyst activation
- Differential mobility analyzer
- Floating catalyst
- Single-walled carbon nanotubes
- Spark-discharge generator