Copper-encapsulated vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays.

Academic Article


  • A new procedure is described for the fabrication of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNTs) that are decorated, and even completely encapsulated, by a dense network of copper nanoparticles. The process involves the conformal deposition of pyrolytic carbon (Py-C) to stabilize the aligned carbon-nanotube structure during processing. The stabilized arrays are mildly functionalized using oxygen plasma treatment to improve wettability, and they are then infiltrated with an aqueous, supersaturated Cu salt solution. Once dried, the salt forms a stabilizing crystal network throughout the array. After calcination and H2 reduction, Cu nanoparticles are left decorating the CNT surfaces. Studies were carried out to determine the optimal processing parameters to maximize Cu content in the composite. These included the duration of Py-C deposition and system process pressure as well as the implementation of subsequent and multiple Cu salt solution infiltrations. The optimized procedure yielded a nanoscale hybrid material where the anisotropic alignment from the VACNT array was preserved, and the mass of the stabilized arrays was increased by over 24-fold because of the addition of Cu. The procedure has been adapted for other Cu salts and can also be used for other metal salts altogether, including Ni, Co, Fe, and Ag. The resulting composite is ideally suited for application in thermal management devices because of its low density, mechanical integrity, and potentially high thermal conductivity. Additionally, further processing of the material via pressing and sintering can yield consolidated, dense bulk composites.
  • Authors

  • Stano, Kelly L
  • Chapla, Rachel
  • Carroll, Murphy
  • Nowak, Joshua
  • McCord, Marian
  • Bradford, Philip D
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • November 13, 2013
  • Published In


  • Anisotropy
  • Carbon
  • Copper
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Oxygen
  • Salts
  • Wettability
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 24143862
  • Start Page

  • 10774
  • End Page

  • 10781
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 21