Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Fabio H. Ribeiro, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Venkat R. Thalladi, Committee Member


Robert W. Thompson




"Catalytic growth of Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) provides important advantages of controlling their diameters and possibly chirality. Our work involved growing CNT on model and supported catalyst by catalytic decomposition of carbon source such as benzene, methane and propylene. On supported catalyst, iron nitrate was deposited on alumina and reduced to form metallic iron clusters. These were reacted at 700 - 950 C under varying benzene concentrations. Multi Walled CNT (MWNT) grew below 800 C and Single Wall CNT (SWNT) are observed at 850 C and above as confirmed by TEM and Raman. Model catalysts were studied by producing CNT from ferrocene which acted as the carbon and catalyst source on Silica/Si (100). Large yield of MWNT was observed at 900 C. MWNT grew perpendicular to the model support as seen by SEM. In another model catalyst study, iron salt clusters were deposited on silica/Si (100) by spin coating, controlling their diameters by solution concentration and speed of spinning. Agglomeration of clusters at high temperatures produces only MWNT on silica/Si (100). Cluster agglomeration can be reduced with strong support metal interaction such as with alumina. We deposited alumina on silica/Si (100) by atomic layer deposition, with conformal coatings on surface and low relative roughness. Alumina film was stable under reaction temperatures of 900 C. Cluster deposition on alumina by spin coating was difficult because of different surface acidity compared to silica. Clusters on alumina did not agglomerate at high reaction temperatures. We report effect of parameters such as the temperature of reaction, conditions of pretreatment such as reduction and oxidation of catalyst precursor, type of precursor, type of carbon source, and type of support material on growth of CNT. The role of spin coating in controlling the diameter of salt clusters deposited is discussed. We also report deposition of alumina on top of silica/Si (100) by atomic layer deposition and the effect of deposition and calcination temperatures on the alumina film integrity."


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Chemical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





supported catalyst, spin coating, atomic layer deposition, Carbon Nanotubes, model catalyst, ferrocene, thin film coating, Nanotubes, Carbon, Catalyst supports, Chirality