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Open Access Highly Accessed Nano Express

Growth of carbon nanowalls at atmospheric pressure for one-step gas sensor fabrication

Kehan Yu1, Zheng Bo1, Ganhua Lu1, Shun Mao1, Shumao Cui1, Yanwu Zhu2, Xinqi Chen3, Rodney S Ruoff2 and Junhong Chen1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Texas Materials Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA

3 Keck-II Center, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:202  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-202

Published: 9 March 2011


Carbon nanowalls (CNWs), two-dimensional "graphitic" platelets that are typically oriented vertically on a substrate, can exhibit similar properties as graphene. Growth of CNWs reported to date was exclusively carried out at a low pressure. Here, we report on the synthesis of CNWs at atmosphere pressure using "direct current plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition" by taking advantage of the high electric field generated in a pin-plate dc glow discharge. CNWs were grown on silicon, stainless steel, and copper substrates without deliberate introduction of catalysts. The as-grown CNW material was mainly mono- and few-layer graphene having patches of O-containing functional groups. However, Raman and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies confirmed that most of the oxygen groups could be removed by thermal annealing. A gas-sensing device based on such CNWs was fabricated on metal electrodes through direct growth. The sensor responded to relatively low concentrations of NO2 (g) and NH3 (g), thus suggesting high-quality CNWs that are useful for room temperature gas sensors.

PACS: Graphene (81.05.ue), Chemical vapor deposition (81.15.Gh), Gas sensors (07.07.Df), Atmospheric pressure (92.60.hv)