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Spark Ablation for Nanotube Growth

Final Report Summary - SPANG (Spark ablation for nanotube growth)

The main objective of the SPANG project was to develop low-price synthetic routes for high-quality single-walled carbon nanotubes. The benchmark method for producing high-quality carbon nanotubes dictates the use of laser ablation. Namely, graphite is evaporated in a laser beam and by means of the right catalyst as well as of the proper process conditions the carbon plasma condenses to quite long, nearly defect-free single-walled carbon nanotubes and a small amount of by-products (amorphous carbon and graphitic particles). As far as the spark ablation method is concerned, the laser beam is replaced by an electron beam which stems from a spark discharge. This method, compared with the former one, turns out a much more cost-effective alternative. Another method for producing high-quality nanotubes pertains to the evaporation of graphite in an electric arc. The so-called arc-jet method lies on the injection of a hydrocarbon gas through a nozzle into the electric arc and the resultant gas flow conditions are similar to the corresponding ones of the laser ablation method. Furthermore, the arc-jet technique enables the formation of a continuous process as opposed to batch processing which is implemented in conventional nanotube synthesis.

In order to duly observe the quality of nanotubes, a procedure has been standardised which consists of the combination of electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, optical absorption and X-ray diffraction as well as thermal gravimetry and electrical measurements.

Finally, a study of the use of nanotube networks in printed circuit boards has been performed, namely concerning their use in lead resistors as well as in capacitors.

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