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Growing highly pure semiconducting carbon nanotubes by electrotwisting the helicity

Abstract

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are anticipated to be the successor of silicon in next-generation integrated circuits. However, one great challenge to the practical application of this concept is the need to grow horizontal semiconducting CNT arrays with very high purity. Here we show that this roadblock can be eliminated by switching the direction of an applied electric field during synthesis. This electro-renucleation approach twists the chirality of the CNTs to produce nearly defect-free s-CNTs horizontally aligned on the substrate with less than 0.1% residual metallic CNT. In principle, this residual percentage can be further reduced to less than 1 ppm simply by tuning the CNTs’ diameters to around 1.3 nm. Electro-renucleation thus offers a potential pathway to practical applications of CNT electronics and opens up a new avenue for large-scale selective synthesis of semiconducting CNTs and other nanomaterials.

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Fig. 1: Controllably twisting the chirality of CNTs from metallic to semiconducting.
Fig. 2: High-purity s-CNT array grown by ERN method.
Fig. 3: FET fabricated on ERN-grown s-CNT array.
Fig. 4: Raman characterization of ERN-grown s-CNT array.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to L. Peng (Peking University), Y. Zhang (Tsinghua University), F. Ding (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Korea), Y. Xu (Tsinghua University, China) and X. Feng (University of Central Florida, USA) for discussions. This work is financially supported by the Basic Science Center Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under grant no. 51788104, the NSFC (51727805, 51672152, 51472141), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFA0205800) and the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Chips (ICFC). Q. Ji and J. Kong acknowledge support from the STC Center for Integrated Quantum Materials, NSF grant DMR-1231319.

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Contributions

J.W., X.J., Z.L., Z.Y. and H.W. contributed to experimental setup establishment. J.W., Z.L., G.Y. and J.L. contributed to CNT growth. J.W., P.L, J.K., Y.Wu, Y.Wei and K.J. contributed to theoretical analysis. J.W., J.Z., K.Z. and D.L. contributed to FET fabrication. J.W. contributed to Raman experiments. All authors discussed the results and wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Peng Liu, Jing Kong or Kaili Jiang.

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Wang, J., Jin, X., Liu, Z. et al. Growing highly pure semiconducting carbon nanotubes by electrotwisting the helicity. Nat Catal 1, 326–331 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41929-018-0057-x

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