3 years ago

Real-Time Observation of Carbon Nanotube Etching Process Using Polarized Optical Microscope

Real-Time Observation of Carbon Nanotube Etching Process Using Polarized Optical Microscope
Zequn Wang, Qiuchen Zhao, Jin Zhang, Fengrui Yao, Shibin Deng, Kaihui Liu, Lianming Tong
Controllable synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is of great importance in its further application, which attracts broad attention. As growth and etching are the two sides in the process of material crystallography and the control of the competition between them forms the foundation for modern technology of materials design and manufacture, the understanding on etching process of carbon nanotubes is still very unclear because technically it is of great challenge to characterize the dynamics in such small one-dimensional (1D) scale. Here the real-time investigation on the etching process of CNTs is reported, by the hot-wall chemical reactor equipped with a polarized optical microscope. It is discovered that the CNT etching behavior in air is totally of random, including the etching sites, termination sites, and structure dependence. Combining with the dynamic simulation, it is revealed that the random behavior reflects the unique “self-termination” phenomenon. A structure-independent etching propagation barrier of 2.4 eV is also obtained, which indicates that the etching propagation process still follows the conventional Kinetic Wulff construction theory. The results represent the new knowledge on the etching process in carbon nanotube and can contribute to its selective enrichment. Furthermore, the “self-termination” phenomenon may be a universal behavior in 1D process. A hot-wall chemical reactor equipped with a polarized optical microscope is used to realize in situ real-time observation of the etching process in carbon nanotubes, and a “random etching” behavior is discovered. It is revealed that the random behavior reflects the unique “self-termination” phenomenon. Kinetic mechanism of single-walled carbon nanotube etching process is also discussed.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/adma.201701959

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