Controlling the detailed structures of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) is imperative for realizing many SWNT applications, and understanding the SWNT growth mechanism is important to improve the growth techniques. In the present study, we performed SWNT growth by a catalytic chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method in wide temperature and pressure ranges, using a high-vacuum CVD chamber. We focused on low CVD gas pressure and low temperature conditions and investigated the SWNT growth mechanism. SWNTs were synthesized by using ethanol gas as the carbon source. As the catalyst, Co and Mo metal nano-particles deposited onto silicon substrates were used. SWNTs were grown via the reaction between ethanol gas and the catalytic metal nano-particles at high temperature. The ethanol gas pressure ranged from 10−3 Pa to 102 Pa, and the CVD temperature ranged from 400 to 900 °C. The yield of SWNTs was assumed to be proportional to the G-band intensity, which was measured by Raman scattering spectroscopy. SWNT samples were observed by scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. An optimum CVD temperature existed for each ethanol gas pressure, and decreased with decreasing ethanol gas pressure. Moreover, SWNTs were grown even at 500 °C, when the ethanol gas pressure was low (less than 10−2 Pa). In this study, the minimum temperature and pressure at which SWNTs could be grown were 450 °C and 10−3 Pa. At low temperature and low CVD gas pressure, the activity of the catalyst and the growth rate of SWNTs were low, while the catalyst lifetime was long.

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