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Growth mechanism of carbon nanotubes: a nano Czochralski model

Jingyu Lu and Jianmin Miao*

Author Affiliations

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 639798, Singapore

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:356  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-356

Published: 1 July 2012


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been under intense investigations during the past two decades due to their unique physical and chemical properties; however, there is still no commonly accepted growth mechanism to describe the growth behavior of CNTs. Here, we propose a nano Czochralski (CZ) model which regards the catalytic growth of a CNT as a CZ process taking place on the nano scale. The main idea is that, during the CNT growth, each catalyst particle acts as a nano crucible to nucleate and maintain the CNT growth, and the extruding CNT rotates relative to the nano crucible, leading to a chirality-dependent growth rate. In this case, the structural quality gradually changes along the CNT due to the dynamic generation-reconstruction-diffusion of defects during the CNT growth. The nano CZ mechanism may also apply to the catalytic growth of many other one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures (including various nanotubes and nanowires), thus further efforts will be stimulated in the quality and property control, as well as application explorations of these 1D nanomaterials.

Carbon nanotube; Growth mechanism; Czochralski; Nano-CZ; catalytic; Nanowire