Synthesis, characterization and manipulation of Carbon nanotubes

by Xu Jin

Institution: University of Waterloo
Year: 2009
Keywords: carbon nanotubes; synthesis; characterization; manipulation
Record ID: 1859459
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10012/4460


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are advanced materials that have numerous novel and useful properties. Controlling the synthesis and properties of CNTs is the major challenge toward their future applications. This thesis addresses this challenge with several contributions. This thesis begins with the brief introduction of CNTs, including the history of their discovery, their geometric structure, unique properties and potential applications. Then focus is laid on the subsequent three sections: characterization, synthesis, and manipulation of CNTs. Chapter 2 describes three characterization tools: AFM, SEM and Raman, which are commonly used to analyze CNTs and other nanomaterials. They offer both qualitative and quantitative information on many physical properties including size, morphology, surface texture and roughness. Also, they can be used to determine the structure of CNTS. Chapter 3 addresses the synthesis of CNTS, because synthesis is an important and indispensible process to study CNTs experimentally. Specifically, two controllable synthesis techniques are realized, which are capable to produce iron catalyst nanoparticles for single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) growth. Iron nanoparicles of different sizes obtained from both wet chemistry and electrodeposition can be used for diameter-controlled synthesis of SWNTs. Following synthesis, two manipulation methods of CNTs are discussed in Chapter 4. Firstly, effort of electrical breakdown of CNTs is introduced. Both SWNTs and MWNTs (Multi-walled carbon nanotubes) are cut using this method. Moreover, SWNT kink is shown using AFM tip manipulation. These two manipulation methods provide us a possibility to fabricate large cavity from a MWNT for our purposes. In the end of this thesis, conclusions on my master work in research field of CNTs are drawn and future research directions are proposed.