A research at North Carolina State University shows an enhanced system that will develop carbon nanofibers of particular dimensions.
Dr. Anatoli Melechko, associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State who has co-authored the research paper, says carbon nanofibers can be used in multiple applications. But their dimensions restrict their use.
The research reveals that nickel nanoparticles covered with a ligand shell can help cultivate carbon nanofibers of consistent diameter. Ligands are tiny organic molecules with working groups that attach themselves directly to metals. At high temperatures they can act like catalysts to cultivate carbon nanofibers.
The ligand shell made up of trioctylphosphine alters at high temperatures to finally become a graphite-like shell, says Dr. Joe Tracy, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State, who has also written the research paper. The shells stop the nickel particles from sticking to each other at high temperatures. This sticking is a deterrent to the formation of the nanoparticles. Nanoparticles help develop nanofibers since the fibers are inclined to have the same diameter as the parent nanoparticles. Nanofibers of 20 nanometers in diameter need nanoparticles of 20nm in diameter. If the nanoparticles stick to each other it causes nanofibers of many varying dimensions. The research explains the connection between nickel nanoparticles, ligands and carbon nanofiber generation. Nanofibers developed from nanoparticles determine the growth of the nanofibers and they way they are arranged.