Direct growth of aligned carbon nanotubes on bulk metals


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 CNTs1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 are grown either by using thin catalyst layers predeposited on substrates1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or through vapour-phase catalyst delivery7,8,9. 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.

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Figure 1: Aligned MWNTs grown on different geometries of Inconel substrates.
Figure 2: Mechanical and electrical characterization of the CNT–Inconel interface.
Figure 3: Double-layer capacitor measurements of CNT–Inconel sheets.
Figure 4: Field-emission characteristics of the CNT–Inconel electrodes.


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We acknowledge funding support received from the RPI Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative of the National Science Foundation under NSF Grant No. DMR-0117792 and the Interconnect Focus Center New York at RPI. S.T. thanks X. Li for helpful discussions.

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Correspondence to S. Talapatra.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary figures 1-3 and table I (PDF 530 kb)

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Talapatra, S., Kar, S., Pal, S. et al. Direct growth of aligned carbon nanotubes on bulk metals. Nature Nanotech 1, 112–116 (2006).

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