A comprehensive kinetic study was performed to throw light on the formation mechanism of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in chemical vapor deposition processes. SWNTs were synthesized by catalytic decomposition of methane or ethylene on supported transition metal catalysts. Kinetic curves (the amount of SWNT as a function of time) were obtained as a function of the nature and the preparation of the supported catalysts, temperature, the fluxes of the gases (the reagent hydrocarbon and the carrying gas), and the partial pressure of the hydrocarbon. The final products were characterized by transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, chemical analysis, and thermogravimetric measurements. The fundamental factors determining the SWNT formation are discussed in detail, taking into consideration several observations from the literature as well.
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