The synthesis and characterization of carbon nanotubes grown by chemical vapor deposition using a stainless steel catalyst

Luca Camilli, Manuela Scarselli*, Silvano Del Gobbo, Paola Castrucci, Francesca Nanni, Eric Gautron, Serge Lefrant, Maurizio De Crescenzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Multi wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were grown on a stainless steel (SS) sheet by chemical vapor deposition without the addition of external metal catalyst. We found that the key for highly efficient growth includes the nanoscale roughness of the SS surface, as shown by scanning tunneling microscopy, that acts as catalyst/template in the nanotube formation. Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy were used to check the nature and quality of the synthesized nanotubes. We conclude that stainless steel favors a base-growth mechanism. Transmission electron energy loss spectroscopy performed on single metallic particles found inside the nanotubes clarified the atomic nature of the catalytic particles supplied by the steel. Only unoxidized iron was found and no traces of nickel and chromium were detected. In addition, the SS substrate has been used for a second growth process after carefully removing the synthesized CNTs, proving that a continuous production of CNTs from the same substrate is achievable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3307-3315
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the French-Italian Galileo 2009–2010 project. The Italian authors acknowledge the financial support of the Queensland Government smart futures fund National and International Research Alliances Program (NIRAP): Solar powered nano-sensors for data acquisition and surveying in remote areas‘, ABN 83 791 724 622. We are grateful to Dr. M. Salvato for thickness measurements of the samples.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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