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2018 Project Proposal

Optimization of the CVD Growth of Carbon Nanotube Films*

Chris Smart (Chemistry)

Carbon nanotubes are unique and versatile materials that have many potential applications.  Thin films of carbon nanotubes can be grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on surfaces containing iron, nickel or cobalt, which serve as catalysts for the selective decomposition of a precursor gas, such as acetylene.  The as-deposited nanotube films are electrically conductive, and can be further functionalized via chemical reactions to give materials with new potential uses. 

We seek to optimize the CVD growth of carbon nanotube films on various catalytically active surfaces.  Our goal is to be able to achieve consistent, high-performing films for several applications including chemical sensing and energy storage.  We will undertake a comparison of reactor design as well as a comparison of catalyst surface preparation.  The URSI fellow will learn to run the Vassar CVD reactor, and to characterize the resulting films by SEM, Raman spectroscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence.  Electrical measurements on the nanotube films will also be made.     

Prerequisites:  Prospective URSI Fellows should have completed Chemistry 244/245.        

How should students express their interest in this project?  Interested students should contact me to schedule a discussion of the project.