An MgO supported Co catalyst prepared by atomic layer deposition was applied for the growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). Different from other catalysts, which generally nucleate SWNTs by base-growth mode, the Co-MgO catalyst uniquely generates SWNTs by tip-growth mode, indicating a weak metal-support interaction. During chemical vapor deposition process, the lift-off of Co nanoparticles from support inhibits the aggregation of Co nanoparticles and favors the synthesis of small-diameter SWNTs with a narrow chirality distribution, even at a high reaction temperature. Particularly, product grown at 800 °C maintains a preferential synthesis of small-diameter (6, 5) SWNTs. The enrichment of (6, 5) SWNT arises from the combination of SWNT-catalyst interface thermodynamics with growth kinetic. The growth dynamics of SWNTs was further investigated by in situ Raman spectroscopy, which revealed that SWNTs with smaller diameters appeared prior to the growth of large-diameter counterparts.
- Metal-support interaction
- Raman spectroscopy
- Single-walled carbon nanotube
- Temperature-programmed reduction
- Tip growth