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Are Carbon Nanotubes a Naturally Occurring Material? Hints from Methane CVD Using Lava as a Catalyst

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Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) were grown using methane CVD with lava as a catalyst and substrate. Metal-oxide phases embedded in the lava are reduced in the presence of hydrogen, thereby promoting catalytic growth. Scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy show a correlation between the growth of carbonaceous nanomaterials and the presence of iron in the alumina matrix. Raman spectroscopy of the carbon deposits proves the occurrence of SWNTs. Although this growth route lacks efficiency, it provides evidence for the claim that SWNTs are a natural allotrope of carbon and that volcanoes may provide an environment for their synthesis.

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Keywords: Carbon nanotubes; carbon allotropes; chemical vapor deposition; energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy; growth; nanomaterials; patents; scanning electron microscopy; single-walled carbon nanotubes; toxicology; volcanoes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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  • Current Nanoscience publishes authoritative reviews and original research reports, written by experts in the field on all the most recent advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology. All aspects of the field are represented including nano- structures, synthesis, properties, assembly and devices. Applications of nanoscience in biotechnology, medicine, pharmaceuticals, physics, material science and electronics are also covered. The journal is essential to all involved in nanoscience and its applied areas.
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