|Abstract or Summary
- A study of the effect of catalyst properties on the synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is done in this thesis. Three different metal alloy catalysts, Fe/Ti, Ni/Ti, Co/Ti, have been studied. Various atomic concentrations and thicknesses were cosputter deposited on clean Si wafers using AJA Orion 4 RF Magnetron sputter deposition tool at 5mtorr and 17°C, and the films were characterized using a scanning electron microscope, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. All the alloys have been annealed at 650°C and 3 torr in an argon atmosphere at 100 SCCM, followed by ammonia gas plasma etch at different powers at 3 torr and 50 SCCM NH₃ flow in a modified parallel plate RF chemical vapor deposition tool for 1 minute. The influence of plasma power, thickness of catalyst and concentration of Ti the secondary metal in the alloy composition, on the surface morphology of the catalyst are investigated by characterizing them with atomic force microscopy. The study has shown that the surface roughness is affected by Ti concentration, thickness and plasma power. The 35 W power NH₃ plasma produced rougher surfaces when compared to the 75 W NH₃ plasma. The result is interpreted as follows: ion bombardment leads to greater etching of the catalyst surface. Thus, plasma power must be optimized for catalyst thin film and etch time. The study has provided an in depth analysis and understanding of the various factors that influence catalyst surface morphology which can be applied into further study for optimizing parameters for synthesis of single walled CNTs.
Following this, a study on catalysts for CNT synthesis was performed using Plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition and characterized by scanning electron microscope. CNTs were synthesized on Ni, Ni-Ti, Co, Co-Ti and Fe catalyst. Ni, Ni-Ti catalyst produced forest like vertically aligned CNTs whereas Co, Co-Ti produced vertically aligned free standing CNTs. The growth was dense and uniform across the substrate. Initial growth runs on Fe, Fe-Ti alloy did not produce any CNTs until catalyst was restructured with a thicker Ti under layer after an investigation using Secondary ion mass spectrometry of suspected Fe catalyst poisoning due to reaction with Si substrate. A room temperature run was carried out on annealed and plasma etched Ni catalyst and no CNTs were produced indicating the importance of substrate temperature of CNTs. A deeper understanding of factors of influence on CNTs such as catalyst types, structure/morphology, and substrate temperature has been achieved with this study.