Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Xueliang Sun


Particular physical and chemical properties of carbon based nanomaterials (CBNs) have promised and exhibited great applications in manufacturing various nanodevices such as electron field emitters, sensors, one-dimensional conductors, supercapacitors, reinforcing fibres, hydrogen storage devices, and catalyst support for fuel cells electrodes. Despite these amazing technical progresses, many challenges still remain in the development of synthesis methods suitable for commercial applications and fabricating novel functional nanostructures with complex architecture.

In this Ph.D. thesis, one-dimensional (1D), two-dimensional (2D) carbon nanostructures, and 1D/2D hybrid of carbon nanostructures have been synthesized using various chemical vapour deposition (CVD) methods. The objective of this work is to explore the potential of various CVD methods, including specially-designed CVD techniques, such as modified spray pyrolysis, plasma enhanced CVD, and magnetron sputtering deposition. By making use of these innovative methods, high density regular and nitrogen-doped nanotubes, graphite nanosheets and assemblies have been successfully obtained on conducting and semiconducting substrates. For the modified spray pyrolysis method, systematic investigation of regular carbon nanotubes (CNTs) was conducted in terms of optimizing various experimental parameters such as hydrocarbon source, temperature, and catalyst in order to control the quality and structure of CBNs. Doping of nitrogen into carbon nanotubes was also systematically studied to enhance their electrical and mechanical properties. Interestingly, a novel structure of multi-branched nitrogen doped CNTs has been achieved by this modified spray pyrolysis method. By employing the plasma assisted CVD/sputtering hybrid system, selective growth of single and few walled CNTs have been realized. The device has also been able to produce 2D carbon nanostructures of nanosheets and a hybrid of nanosheets suspended on vertical aligned CNTs. Based on the magnetron sputtering deposition method, carbon nanowalls have been synthesized without any catalyst addition. Morphology, microstructure, and vibration properties of the CBNs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

Carbon nanomaterials, grown in high densities on conducting and semiconducting substrates, promise great potential in building various nanodevices with different electron conducting requirements. In addition, CBNs provide a very high surface area for the support of platinum particles for use in hydrogen fuel cell electrodes.