The synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), carbon nanofibers (CNFs), and graphene from catalyst on substrate using CVD has massively progressed in the past decade, especially the ability to control the nature of these structures on all length scales and in all aspects of their composition, structure, and morphology. Dense carpets of CNTs/CNFs are an ideal electrically-conductive scaffold for active electrode material. Graphene provides a massive surface area that can be functionalized.
The focus of this presentation is to introduce the audience to the scientific aspects of the synthesis of carbon nanostructures. I will guide the audience through the nucleation and growth mechanisms using a unified model focused on the roles of catalysts, underlayers, reservoirs, and precursor gases using chemical vapor deposition. The mechanisms will be supported by numerous experimental results, such as dense carpets of crystalline CNTs on insulating and metallic substrates, role of thin film reservoirs to enhance CNT growth, self-delaminating growth of large mats of CNFs, and the synthesis of high-quality few layers graphene at reduced temperature.
Finally, I will show applications of these nanostructures as a platform material to energy devices such as batteries and supercapacitors using functionalized dense carpets of mm-tall and vertically aligned CNTs, 3-dimensonal self-assembled CNF mats, and functionalized graphene.