Effects of Pre-Growth Catalyst Annealing on Carbon Nanotube Synthesis
Faculty Advisor(s): Fisher
The inability to control the physical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) continues to hinder the manufacturability and applicability of CNT devices. The effect of pre-growth annealing on iron-based CNT catalysts prior to plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) CNT synthesis is investigated. While the CNT growth parameters are held constant, the temperature and time of the pre-growth annealing step is varied. Annealing is performed in a reducing H2 environment, maintained at a pressure of 10 torr. The samples contain a 10nm layer of iron catalyst deposited on a 10nm layer of chrome to promote iron adhesion. Following growth, the samples are characterized using field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) imaging to determine CNT diameter, growth density, and catalyst particle size. The resulting data reveal the effects of pre-growth annealing on the physical properties of the synthesized CNTs. The annealing process controls the grain structure and size of the catalyst, resulting in control over CNT diameter and density.
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