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Carbon Nanotubes by a CVD Method. Part II: Formation of Nanotubes from (Mg, Fe)O Catalysts

Abstract : The aim of this paper is to study the formation of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) from different Fe/MgO oxide powders that were prepared by combustion synthesis and characterized in detail in a companion paper. Depending on the synthesis conditions, several iron species are present in the starting oxides including Fe2+ ions, octahedral Fe3+ ions, Fe3+ clusters, and MgFe2O4-like nanoparticles. Upon reduction during heating at 5 °C/min up to 1000 °C in H2/CH4 of the oxide powders, the octahedral Fe3+ ions tend to form Fe2+ ions, which are not likely to be reduced to metallic iron whereas the MgFe2O4-like particles are directly reduced to metallic iron. The reduced phases are R-Fe, Fe3C, and ç-Fe-C. Fe3C appears as the postreaction phase involved in the formation of carbon filaments (CNTs and thick carbon nanofibers). Thick carbon nanofibers are formed from catalyst particles originating from poorly dispersed species (Fe3+ clusters and MgFe2O4-like particles). The nanofiber outer diameter is determined by the particle size. The reduction of the iron ions and clusters that are well dispersed in the MgO lattice leads to small catalytic particles (<5 nm), which tend to form SWNTS and DWNTs with an inner diameter close to 2 nm. Well-dispersed MgFe2O4-like particles can also be reduced to small metal particles with a narrow size distribution, producing SWNTs and DWNTs. The present results will help in tailoring oxide precursors for the controlled formation of CNTs.
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Pierre Coquay, Alain Peigney, Eddy de Grave, Robert E. Vandenberghe, Christophe Laurent. Carbon Nanotubes by a CVD Method. Part II: Formation of Nanotubes from (Mg, Fe)O Catalysts. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, American Chemical Society, 2002, vol. 106, pp. 13199-13210. ⟨10.1021/jp026632k⟩. ⟨hal-00914584⟩

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