- S. Curtarolo and N. Awasthi and W. Setyawan and A. Q. Jiang and K. Bolton and T. Tokune and A. R. Harutyunyan, Influence of Mo on the Fe : Mo : C nanocatalyst thermodynamics for single-walled carbon nanotube growth,
Physical Review B, vol. 78 no. 5
(August, 2008) .
(last updated on 2009/08/04)
We explore the role of Mo in Fe:Mo nanocatalyst thermodynamics for low-temperature chemical-vapor deposition growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). By using the size-pressure approximation and ab initio modeling, we prove that for both Fe-rich (similar to 80\% Fe or more) and Mo-rich (similar to 50\% Mo or more) Fe:Mo clusters, the presence of carbon in the cluster causes nucleation of Mo2C. This enhances the activity of the particle since it releases Fe, which is initially bound in a stable Fe:Mo phase, so that it can catalyze SWCNT growth. Furthermore, the presence of small concentrations of Mo reduces the lower size limit of low-temperature steady-state growth from similar to 0.58 nm for pure Fe particles to similar to 0.52 nm. Our ab initio-thermodynamic modeling explains experimental results and establishes a direction to search for better catalysts.