Growth of carbon nanocoils from K and Ag cooperative bicatalyst assisted thermal decomposition of acetylene

Wen Chih Liu, Huang Kai Lin, Yu Liang Chen, Chi Young Lee, Hsin-Tien Chiu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Growth of amorphous carbon nanocoil (CNC) from acetylene on Si substrates was achieved by using nanosized Ag and K as the catalysts. The deposition of CNC was carried out inside a hot-wall reactor at 723 K using H2 as the carrier gas. Based on the observed results, we propose a cooperative bimetal catalyst enhanced vapor - liquid - solid (VLS) growth mechanism to rationalize the CNC growth. In the reaction, the liquid phase metallic K dehydrogenated acetylene into the solid-state carbon, while the Ag nanoparticle assisted the extension of carbon one-dimensionally (1-D) via a tip-growth mechanism. Due to the adhesive force between the K liquid and the carbon, the 1-D solid curled along the C - K interface into the nanocoil shape. Some CNC samples were further heat-treated at 1423 K and showed very good field emission properties. They emitted electrons (10 μA/cm2) at a turn-on field Eto of 2.51 V/μm, while Jmax reached 17.71 mA/cm2 at 5.64 V/μm. The field enhancement factor β was calculated to be 2124, comparable to other carbon nanotube (CNT) and CNC based emitters. The CNC was also characterized by using the electrochemical behavior of K 3[Fe(CN)6] via cyclic voltammetry (CV). The electrochemical surface area of a CNC electrode (geometric surface area 0.078 cm2) was calculated to be 0.143 cm2. These properties suggest that the CNC electrodes may have potential applications in field emission and electrochemical devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4149-4157
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
StatePublished - 27 Jul 2010


  • Ag catalyst
  • carbon nanocoils
  • electrochemical surface area
  • field emission
  • K catalyst
  • vapor-liquid-solid growth

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