Chiral-selective growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes on lattice-mismatched epitaxial cobalt nanoparticles

Sci Rep. 2013;3:1460. doi: 10.1038/srep01460.


Controlling chirality in growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) is important for exploiting their practical applications. For long it has been conceptually conceived that the structural control of SWNTs is potentially achievable by fabricating nanoparticle catalysts with proper structures on crystalline substrates via epitaxial growth techniques. Here, we have accomplished epitaxial formation of monometallic Co nanoparticles with well-defined crystal structure, and its use as a catalyst in the selective growth of SWNTs. Dynamics of Co nanoparticles formation and SWNT growth inside an atomic-resolution environmental transmission electron microscope at a low CO pressure was recorded. We achieved highly preferential growth of semiconducting SWNTs (~90%) with an exceptionally large population of (6, 5) tubes (53%) in an ambient CO atmosphere. Particularly, we also demonstrated high enrichment in (7, 6) and (9, 4) at a low growth temperature. These findings open new perspectives both for structural control of SWNTs and for elucidating the growth mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catalysis
  • Cobalt / chemistry*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Kinetics
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry*


  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Cobalt