Linking catalyst composition to chirality distributions of as-grown single-walled carbon nanotubes by tuning Ni(x)Fe(1-x) nanoparticles

Nat Mater. 2009 Nov;8(11):882-6. doi: 10.1038/nmat2531. Epub 2009 Sep 20.


Chirally pure single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are required for various applications ranging from nanoelectronics to nanomedicine. Although significant efforts have been directed towards separation of SWCNT mixtures, including density-gradient ultracentrifugation , chromatography and electrophoresis, the initial chirality distribution is determined during growth and must be controlled for non-destructive, scalable and economical production. Here, we show that the chirality distribution of as-grown SWCNTs can be altered by varying the composition of Ni(x)Fe(1-x) nanocatalysts. Precise tuning of the nanocatalyst composition at constant size is achieved by a new gas-phase synthesis route based on an atmospheric-pressure microplasma. The link between the composition-dependent crystal structure of the nanocatalysts and the resulting nanotube chirality supports epitaxial models and is a step towards chiral-selective growth of SWCNTs.

Publication types

  • Letter