A parametric study of so-called "super growth" of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) was done by using combinatorial libraries of iron/aluminum oxide catalysts. Millimeter-thick forests of nanotubes grew within 10 min, and those grown by using catalysts with a thin Fe layer (about 0.5 nm) were SWNTs. Although nanotube forests grew under a wide range of reaction conditions such as gas composition and temperature, the window for SWNT was narrow. Fe catalysts rapidly grew nanotubes only when supported on aluminum oxide. Aluminum oxide, which is a well-known catalyst in hydrocarbon reforming, plays an essential role in enhancing the nanotube growth rates.
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