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TECHNICAL BRIEFS

Rapid Production of Carbon Nanotubes by High-Power Laser Ablation

[+] Author and Article Information
Wenping Jiang

Mechanical Engineering Department, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011

Pal Molian1

Mechanical Engineering Department, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011molian@iastate.edu

Hans Ferkel

 Institut fuer Werkstoffkunde und Werkstofftechnik, TU Clausthal, Germany

1

To whom correspondence should be addressed.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 127(3), 703-707 (Aug 26, 2004) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.1961983 History: Received May 19, 2004; Revised August 26, 2004

Carbon nanotubes were synthesized in an atmospheric chamber by irradiating a metal-catalyst containing graphite target with a 2 kW continuous wave CO2 laser and capturing the soot in flowing distilled water to facilitate continuous, rapid production. The ablation products, swept away by an argon flow and collected in the distilled water, were further purified to result in a yield of 50%. The growth rate of purified aggregate ranged from 0.5 to 2gh depending on the laser power. Microscopic scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopic (Raman) methods characterized the purified aggregate as a mixture of individual and bundle of single-wall nanotubes, nanoparticles, clusters, and impurities. Nanotubes accounted for approximately 10% of purified aggregate inferring a maximum production rate of 0.2gh. The average diameter and length of nanotubes were 1.3 nm and 1.5μm, respectively. The major benefits of this technique are absence of vacuum and high-temperature furnace that are associated with the traditional pulsed laser method, and scalability to meet the industrial production levels.

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Copyright © 2005 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

A schematic diagram showing the concept of laser ablation for rapid production of carbon nanotubes. The laser beam is focused on the graphite target placed under a base and water is introduced through a valve for collecting and protecting nanotubes.

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Figure 2

Effect of laser power on the amount of purified aggregate

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Figure 3

TEM micrographs showing individual and bundles of nanotubes along with impurities

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Figure 4

AFM images of nanotubes. (a) Height: 4.2 nm and width: 12.9 nm. (b) Height: 0.78 nm and width: 8.8 nm.

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Figure 5

Raman spectra of nanotubes. (a) All frequency spectrum showing the absence of disordered forms of carbon and other impurities (note the absence of peaks between 200 and 1550cm−1); (b) low-frequency spectrum where three peaks corresponding to 153, 165, and 183cm−1 have characteristic diameters of 1.46, 1.36, and 1.23 nm according to d(nm)=223.75∕Raman shift; and (c) high-frequency Raman spectrum showing the strongest peak indicating the existence of carbon form of nanotube.

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