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

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2016

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Abstract

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).

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Ubnoske, Stephen M. (2016). Growth, Characterization, and Properties of Hybrid Graphene-Carbon Nanotube Films and Related Carbon Nanostructures. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12157.

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