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Lenka Zajíčková, Marek Eliáš, Ondřej Jašek, Vít Kudrle, Zdeněk Frgala, Jiřina Matějková, Jiří Buršík, Magdaléna Kadlečíková

Atmospheric Pressure Microwave Torch for Synthesis of Carbon Nanotubes

Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 47 (2005) B655–B666

The microwave (mw) plasma torch at atmospheric pressure has been studied for carbon nanotube (CNT) synthesis. The depositions were carried out on silicon substrates with 5-15 nm thin iron catalytic overlayers from the mixture of argon, hydrogen and methane. The optical emission spectroscopy of the torch showed the presence of C-2 and CH radicals as well as carbon and hydrogen excited atoms. The vicinity of the substrate influenced the relative intensities and increased the emission of C2. For fixed mw power, the temperature of the substrate strongly depended on its position with respect to the nozzle electrode and on the gas mixture, particularly the amount of H-2. The speed of the substrate heating during an early deposition phase had a significant effect on the CNT synthesis. An abrupt increase of the temperature at the beginning increased the efficiency of the CNT synthesis. Areas of dense straight standing CNTs, 30 nm in average diameter, with approximately the same sized iron nanoparticles on their tops were found in accordance with the model of growth by plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition. However, the deposit was not uniform and a place with only several nanometres thick CNTs grown on much larger iron particles was also found. Here, taking into account the gas temperature in the torch, 3100-3900K, we can see similarities with the 'dissolution-precipitation' model of the CNT growth by high temperature methods, arc or laser ablation.

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