Low-Temperature Growth of Carbon Nanotubes Catalyzed by Sodium-Based Ingredients

Richard Li, Erica F. Antunes, Estelle Kalfon-Cohen, Akira Kudo, Luiz Acauan, Wei Chang D. Yang, Canhui Wang, Kehang Cui, Andrew H. Liotta, Ananth Govind Rajan, Jules Gardener, David C. Bell, Michael S. Strano, J. Alexander Liddle, Renu Sharma, Brian L. Wardle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Synthesis of low-dimensional carbon nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is a key driver for achieving advances in energy storage, computing, and multifunctional composites, among other applications. Here, we report high-yield thermal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) synthesis of CNTs catalyzed by reagent-grade common sodium-containing compounds, including NaCl, NaHCO3, Na2CO3, and NaOH, found in table salt, baking soda, and detergents, respectively. Coupled with an oxidative dehydrogenation reaction to crack acetylene at reduced temperatures, Na-based nanoparticles have been observed to catalyze CNT growth at temperatures below 400 °C. Ex situ and in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) reveal unique CNT morphologies and growth characteristics, including a vaporizing Na catalyst phenomenon that we leverage to create CNTs without residual catalyst particles for applications that require metal-free CNTs. Na is shown to synthesize CNTs on numerous substrates, and as the first alkali group metal catalyst demonstrated for CNT growth, holds great promise for expanding the understanding of nanocarbon synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9204-9209
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 1
Externally publishedYes


  • alkali metals
  • carbon nanotube
  • catalysis
  • chemical vapor deposition
  • nanostructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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