Direct growth of aligned carbon nanotubes on bulk metals

Nat Nanotechnol. 2006 Nov;1(2):112-6. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2006.56. Epub 2006 Oct 22.


There are several advantages of growing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) directly on bulk metals, for example in the formation of robust CNT-metal contacts during growth. Usually, aligned CNTs are grown either by using thin catalyst layers predeposited on substrates or through vapour-phase catalyst delivery. The latter method, although flexible, is unsuitable for growing CNTs directly on metallic substrates. Here we report on the growth of aligned multiwalled CNTs on a metallic alloy, Inconel 600 (Inconel), using vapour-phase catalyst delivery. The CNTs are well anchored to the substrate and show excellent electrical contact with it. These CNT-metal structures were then used to fabricate double-layer capacitors and field-emitter devices, which demonstrated improved performance over previously designed CNT structures. Inconel coatings can also be used to grow CNTs on other metallic substrates. This finding overcomes the substrate limitation for nanotube growth which should assist the development of future CNT-related technologies.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Crystallization / methods*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Materials Testing
  • Metals / chemistry*
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry*
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Surface Properties


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Metals
  • Nanotubes, Carbon