Selective synthesis of large diameter, highly conductive and high density single-walled carbon nanotubes by a thiophene-assisted chemical vapor deposition method on transparent substrates†
Selective synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) with controlled properties is an important research topic for SWNT studies. Here we report a thiophene-assisted chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method to directly grow highly conductive SWNT thin films on substrates, including transparent ones. By adding low concentration thiophene into the carbon feedstock (ethanol), the as-prepared carbon nanotubes demonstrate an obvious up-shift in the diameter distribution while the single-walled structure is still retained. In the proposed mechanism, the change in the diameter is sourced from the increase in the carbon yield induced by the sulfur-containing compound. Such SWNTs are found to possess high conductivity with 95% SWNTs demonstrating on/off ratios lower than 100 in transistors. More importantly, it is further demonstrated that this method can be used to directly synthesize dense SWNT networks on transparent substrates which can be utilized as transparent conductive films (TCFs) with very high transparency. Such TCFs can be applied to fabricate a light modulating window as a proof-of-concept. The present work provides important insights into the growth mechanism of SWNTs and great potential for the preparation of TCFs with high scalability, easy operation and low cost.