Process utilizing pre-formed cluster catalysts for making single-wall carbon nanotubes
AuthorSmalley, Richard E.; Hauge, Robert H.; Willis, Peter Athol; Kittrell, Carter W.
A gas-phase method for producing high yields of single-wall carbon nanotubes with high purity and homogeneity is disclosed. The method involves using preformed metal catalyst clusters to initiate and grow single-wall carbon nanotubes. In one embodiment, multi-metallic catalyst precursors are used to facilitate the metal catalyst cluster formation. The catalyst clusters are grown to the desired size before mixing with a carbon-containing feedstock at a temperature and pressure sufficient to initiate and form single-wall carbon nanotubes. The method also involves using small fullerenes and preformed sections of single-wall carbon nanotubes, either derivatized or underivatized, as seed molecules for expediting the growth and increasing the yield of single-wall carbon nanotubes. The multi-metallic catalyst precursors and the seed molecules may be introduced into the reactor by means of a supercritical fluid. In addition the seed molecules may be introduced into the reactor via an aerosol or smoke.
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