Graphene as an atomically thin interface for growth of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes
Arava, Leela Mohana Reddy
Heinz, Tony F.
Ajayan, Pulickel M.
Harutyunyan, Avetik R.
Growth of vertically aligned carbon nanotube (CNT) forests is highly sensitive to the nature of the substrate. This constraint narrows the range of available materials to just a few oxide-based dielectrics and presents a major obstacle for applications. Using a suspended monolayer, we show here that graphene is an excellent conductive substrate for CNT forest growth. Furthermore, graphene is shown to intermediate growth on key substrates, such as Cu, Pt, and diamond, which had not previously been compatible with nanotube forest growth. We find that growth depends on the degree of crystallinity of graphene and is best on mono- or few-layer graphene. The synergistic effects of graphene are revealed by its endurance after CNT growth and low contact resistances between the nanotubes and Cu. Our results establish graphene as a unique interface that extends the class of substrate materials for CNT growth and opens up important new prospects for applications.