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Achievements in Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Research

Peking University, Dec. 30, 2010: The controllable growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes is one of the two biggest challenges in the research of the carbon nanotube-based electronics. However, Prof. Li Yan from the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering together with his team has made a series of breakthroughs after a few years' systematic and deep research in this field. 


Catalyst, as one of the most crucial element in the controllable growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes, is carefully examined by Prof. Li Yan and his team. Their latest research findings about the two new catalysts Cu and Pb were published in Nano Letters in 2006, in Chemistry of Materials in 2008 and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry in 2010. Once it was published in the “Special Issue: Materials Science at Peking University” of Advanced Materials, the article summarizing the research findings during these years “How Catalysts affect the Growth of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes on Substrates” has caught instant international attention and has been cited by overseas scholars such as J. A. Rogers.


In 2007, the article “Ultralow Feeding Gas Flow Guiding Growth of Large-Scale Horizontally Aligned Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Arrays” was published in Nano Letters. This discovery was then reported by NatureChina website with the title “Nanotubes: Slowly but Surely.” By making use of the airflow, the team was able to control the growth direction of the carbon nanotubes and gain a better understanding of the nonlinear single-walled carbon nanotubes arrays in 2009.


The controllable growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes is definitely the most challenging problem in the research of the growth of nanotubes. To solve this problem, Prof. Li Yan’s team collaborated with the research team led by Prof. Liu Jie from Duke University. In 2009, they discovered a method to grow high-density, perfectly aligned SWNT (single-walled carbon nanotube) arrays with a significantly enhanced fraction of semiconducting SWNTs on ST-cut quartz using an ethanol/methanol mixture. The article about this discovery named “Selective Growth of Well-Aligned Semiconducting Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes” ranked the 15th most influential international academic paper selected by Statistical Data of Chinese S&T Papers.


Besides, they have also made a lot of major achievements in improving the properties of carbon nanotubes. Their findings are introduced on the Nature Asia-Pacific website in the “Research Highlight” section and their article “Carbon Nanotubes Combined with Inorganic Nanomaterials: Preparations and Applications” published on Coord. Chem. Rev. 2010 became the “hot paper” in the third quarter of the year 2010.


Extended Reading:
Prof. Li Yan’s Personal Page at Nanomaterials & Nanostructures Lab website, CCME


Translated by: Su Dongrui
Edited by: Zhang Chunlan
Source: PKU News (Chinese)