Two different single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) growth modes (cap growth mode and circumference growth mode) are shown to exist. General SWNT diameter windows are derivable from catalyst particle size considerations. In addition, an almost complete picture of nanotube diameter dependencies for the cap growth mode is drawn from experiment. The nanotube diameter always scales linear with temperature, but the degree of dependence varies with the catalyst element. The nanotube diameter scales logarithmically with the gas pressure and catalyst composition. Very few or exactly one atom of a catalyst additive is sufficient to induce SWNT diameter changes. The experimental data allow the conclusion that the observed nanotube diameter is based on materials properties of sp2-bonded carbon/graphene sheets, on individual properties of the catalyst elements, and on additional kinetic components from temperature and pressure changes. Indications are found for a specific and maybe decisive role of adsorbate atoms at the surface of a catalyst particle on the nanotube diameter and therefore on the process of nanotube nucleation and growth.
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