Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Carbon nanotubes grown in combustion flames


An international research team’s theoretical simulation of the synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes has revealed important details of the mechanisms at play. This could lead to better ways to control the production of carbon nanotubes.

The synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), with a view to their industrial-scale production, is attracting heavy scientific interest. Their unique chemical properties promise a wide variety of groundbreaking uses in acoustic, biomedical, electronic, environmental, optical and structural technologies.

Copyright : Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM), Nagoya University

Led by Professor Stephan Irle of the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules at Nagoya University, a team of researchers in Japan, the United States and China conducted computer simulations that show similar molecular mechanisms at work in the growth of carbon nanotubes and the combustion of hydrocarbons to form soot. This discovery challenges a previously accepted view that metal carbides are needed to create nanotubes, through a process called chemical vapour deposition.

The team’s own models suggest that alternative chemical processes such as hydrogen- bstraction/acetylene addition – a mechanism often observed in combustion processes – could also be used to grow carbon nanotubes. “This finding is very intriguing in the sense that these processes were long considered to proceed by completely different mechanisms,” says Professor Irle.

In 2014, the team reported the first growth simulations of single-walled carbon nanotube synthesis, using acetylene as a feedstock. Their simulation model used acetylene due to the relatively low temperatures needed to catalyse chemical vapour deposition, and because even small amounts speed up reactions significantly. According to the researchers, their modelling suggests that acetylene’s potential role needs further study, as does the currently accepted model for carbon nanotube production.

Since publishing their results, the researchers have started modelling the synthesis of graphene – a one atomthick layer of pure carbon – using nickel and copper with a methane catalyst. They hope to publicly release the new simulation model – based on a direct version of a kinetic Monte Carlo simulation where reaction channels are predicted automatically on the fly as the growth process proceeds – in 2015.

Carbon nanotubes are nanocylinders consisting of one atom-thick sheets of carbon (or graphene). They are currently used as additives to strengthen various structural materials, and may also be used for energy storage as well as in the next generation of nanoelectronics and biomedical devices. CNTs are often synthesised via chemical vapour deposition, in which hydrocarbon vapour is deposited on metal catalysts under a flow of non-reactive gas at high temperatures. However, quality control is a challenge since this method usually results in the production of CNTs with variable diameters and different sidewall structures.

For further information contact:
Professor Stephan Irle
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules
World Premier International Research Center Initiative
Nagoya University, Japan
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM), Nagoya University

*This article also appears in Asia Research News 2015 (P.61).

Associated links
Read Asia Research News 2015
Download a copy of Asia Research News 2015 for free

Ayako Miyazaki | ResearchSEA

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Second research flight into zero gravity

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>