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Synthesis of individual single-walled carbon nanotubes on patterned silicon wafers


Recent progress1,2,3 in the synthesis of high-quality single-walled carbon nanotubes4 (SWNTs) has enabled the measurement of their physical and materials properties5,6,7,8. The idea that nanotubes might be integrated with conventional microstructures to obtain new types of nanoscale devices, however, requires an ability to synthesize, isolate, manipulate and connect individual nanotubes. Here we describe a strategy for making high-quality individual SWNTs on silicon wafers patterned with micrometre-scale islands of catalytic material. We synthesize SWNTs by chemical vapour deposition of methane on the patterned substrates. Many of the synthesized nanotubes are perfect, individual SWNTs with diameters of 1–3 nm and lengths of up to tens of micrometres. The nanotubes are rooted in the islands, and are easily located, characterized and manipulated with the scanning electron microscope and atomic force microscope. Some of the SWNTs bridge two metallic islands, offering the prospect of using this approach to develop ultrafine electrical interconnects and other devices.

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Figure 1: Schematic of process flow.
Figure 2: Nanotubes grown on a catalyst-patterned substrate.
Figure 3: Topography images of individual SWNTs recorded by tapping mode AFM.
Figure 4: A transmission electron microscope (TEM) image (scale bar: 50 nm) of an individual SWNT synthesized on supported catalysts by the methane CVD approach.

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We thank J. Brauman, J. Han, C. Marcus, T. Kenny, A. Kapiltulnik and A. Morpurgo for helpful discussions, and J. Kim for his assistance with SEM. This work is partly supported by a Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award (H.D.); the NSF and the Office of Naval Research (JSEP) (C.F.Q.); and NASA Ames Research Center (A.M.C.).

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Correspondence to Hongjie Dai.

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Kong, J., Soh, H., Cassell, A. et al. Synthesis of individual single-walled carbon nanotubes on patterned silicon wafers. Nature 395, 878–881 (1998).

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