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August 25th, 2006
Reversed growth reveals secrets of carbon nanotubes
Researchers at the Advanced Technology Institute, University of Surrey have reversed the growth of carbon nanotubes from catalysts, using electron beam irradiation in an electron microscope. High resolution imaging of this reverse process led to the conclusion that carbon nanotube growth is essentially a surface-driven process.
"There is still a hot debate about whether carbon nanotubes grow from catalysts as a result of carbon diffusing through or on the surface of the catalyst", said Dr Vlad Stolojan, who led the research team. "This is mainly because the result of the growth process can only be observed at room temperature, after the process is completed. Through analysing the physics behind the controlled growth reversal that we observed, we concluded that the steady-state part of the growth process is surface-driven and demonstrated that the carbon nearest to the catalystís surface is highly mobile."
University of Surrey
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