Growth, Characterization, and Properties of Hybrid Graphene-Carbon Nanotube Films and Related Carbon Nanostructures

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Graphene, first isolated in 2004 and the subject of the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics, has generated a tremendous amount of research interest in recent years due to its incredible mechanical and electrical properties. However, difficulties in large-scale production and low as-prepared surface area have hindered commercial applications. In this dissertation, a new material is described incorporating the superior electrical properties of graphene edge planes into the high surface area framework of carbon nanotube forests using a scalable and reproducible technology.

The objectives of this research were to investigate the growth parameters and mechanisms of a graphene-carbon nanotube hybrid nanomaterial termed “graphenated carbon nanotubes” (g-CNTs), examine the applicability of g-CNT materials for applications in electrochemical capacitors (supercapacitors) and cold-cathode field emission sources, and determine materials characteristics responsible for the superior performance of g-CNTs in these applications. The growth kinetics of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), grown by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), was studied in order to understand the fundamental mechanisms governing the PECVD reaction process. Activation energies and diffusivities were determined for key reaction steps and a growth model was developed in response to these findings. Differences in the reaction kinetics between CNTs grown on single-crystal silicon and polysilicon were studied to aid in the incorporation of CNTs into microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices. To understand processing-property relationships for g-CNT materials, a Design of Experiments (DOE) analysis was performed for the purpose of determining the importance of various input parameters on the growth of g-CNTs, finding that varying temperature alone allows the resultant material to transition from CNTs to g-CNTs and finally carbon nanosheets (CNSs): vertically oriented sheets of few-layered graphene. In addition, a phenomenological model was developed for g-CNTs. By studying variations of graphene-CNT hybrid nanomaterials by Raman spectroscopy, a linear trend was discovered between their mean crystallite size and electrochemical capacitance. Finally, a new method for the calculation of nanomaterial surface area, more accurate than the standard BET technique, was created based on atomic layer deposition (ALD) of titanium oxide (TiO2).





Ubnoske, Stephen M. (2016). Growth, Characterization, and Properties of Hybrid Graphene-Carbon Nanotube Films and Related Carbon Nanostructures. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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