We have elucidated the synergetic role played by molybdenum in iron-catalyzed chemical vapor deposition growth of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by in situ environmental transmission electron microscopy. Molybdenum can be well accommodated by Fe-based carbide nanoparticle catalysts of M(23)C(6)-type structure (M = Fe and Mo). We have also shown that molybdenum suppresses the nucleation of iron compounds that are known to exhibit no catalytic activity for the growth of CNTs.
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