Alignment mechanism of carbon nanofibers produced by plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor deposition

Merkulov, Vladimir I.; Melechko, Anatoli V.; Guillorn, Michael A.; Lowndes, Douglas H.; Simpson, Michael L.
October 2001
Applied Physics Letters;10/29/2001, Vol. 79 Issue 18, p2970
Academic Journal
We report experimental evidence showing a direct correlation between the alignment of carbon nanofibers (CNFs) prepared by plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor deposition and the location of the catalyst particle during CNF growth. In particular, we find that CNFs that have a catalyst particle at the tip (i.e., growth proceeds from the tip) align along the electric-field lines, whereas CNFs with the particle at the base (i.e., growth proceeds from the base) grow in random orientations. We propose a model that explains the alignment process as a result of a feedback mechanism associated with a nonuniform stress (part tensile, part compressive) that is created across the interface of the catalyst particle with the CNF due to electrostatic forces. Furthermore, we propose that the alignment seen recently in some dense CNF films is due to a crowding effect and is not directly the result of electrostatic forces. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.


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