Nano Research

Article Title

High-purity helical carbon nanotubes by trace-water-assisted chemical vapor deposition: Large-scale synthesis and growth mechanism


helical carbon nanotubes, trace water assist, high yield and purity, first-principles study, growth mechanism


ABSTRACT Helical carbon nanotubes (HCNTs) are highly desirable due to their unique geometrical elegance and inherent physical properties; however, high-efficiency synthesis of high-purity HCNTs with high yield and full elucidation of their growth mechanism remains challenging. Traditional methods to achieve the high-yield growth of HCNTs mainly focus on controlling the size of catalytic particles. Herein, we found that addition of trace water greatly benefits large-scale synthesis of HCNTs. Uniform HCNTs with ~ 100% purity can be obtained, and the yield of HCNTs can reach ~ 8,078% in a run of 6 h, much higher than that obtained without trace water and any of the reported yields. Experiments and theoretical simulations are performed to reveal that the trace water can react with the dangling bond on carbon, thus inhibiting the generation of amorphous species. Furthermore, the trace water can enhance the anisotropy of the catalyst surface. This results in different segregation rates of carbon atoms coming out of different crystal planes and further periodic mismatch of the graphite layers, thus leading to the formation of HCNTs. Therefore, this new and efficient method is promising for practical, large-scale production of HCNTs.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press