Using a home-made aerosol nebulizer, we developed a new aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition (AACVD) process that made it possible to synthesize vertically-aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) arrays with heights over a few millimeters routinely. An essential part of this technique was in-situ formation of metal catalyst nanoparticles via pyrolysis of ferrocene–ethanol aerosol right before CNT synthesis. Through the optimization of aerosol supply and CVD process parameters, we were able to synthesize clean VACNT arrays as long as 4.38 mm with very low metal contents in 20 min. Furthermore, it is worthy noting that such an outstanding height is achieved very quickly without supporting materials and water-assistance. By taking advantage of almost complete inhibition of CNT growth on low melting-temperature metals, we were able to fabricate patterned VACNT arrays by combining AACVD process with a conventional photolithograpic patterning of gold lines. Characterizations of as-grown nanotubes such as morphology, purity, and metal contents are presented.
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