Resonance Raman and IR spectroscopy of aligned carbon nanotube arrays with extremely narrow diameters prepared with molecular catalysts on steel substrates†
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are considered promising for a large range of emerging technologies ranging from advanced electronics to utilization as nanoreactors. Here we report a controlled facile synthesis of aligned carbon nanotubes with very small dimensions directly grown on steel grid substrates via two-step catalytic chemical vapor deposition (CCVD) of a molecular catalyst (ferrocene) with ethylene as the carbon source. The system is characterized by resonance Raman spectroscopy and the results show single walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) arrays composed of 0.80 nm to 1.24 nm semiconducting CNTs, as analyzed using Kataura analysis, which is approaching the lowest diameters attainable for SWCNTs. The G+ and G− mode splitting, G− line shapes and ring breathing modes (RBMs) are analyzed to characterize the CNTs. The approach results in close packed and vertically aligned SWCNT bundles formed into hair shapes, with some contribution from multiwall CNTs (MWCNTs). IR spectroscopy is utilized to characterize the edge/defect states that have the ability to form esters and ether bonds in the as-prepared CNTs. The stepwise deposition of the catalyst followed by the carbon source gives control over the formation of small diameter single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). The utilization of molecular catalysts for narrow diameter growth directly on steel grid substrates forms a promising approach for producing cost-effective CNT substrates for a plethora of sensing and catalytic applications.