Applied Sciences, Vol. 11, Pages 9529: Chemical Bond Formation between Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes and Metal Substrates at Low Temperatures
Applied Sciences doi: 10.3390/app11209529
Chaminda P. Nawarathne
Chethani K. Ruhunage
Connor E. Rahm
Noe T. Alvarez
The exceptional physical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have the potential to transform materials science and various industrial applications. However, to exploit their unique properties in carbon-based electronics, CNTs regularly need to be chemically interfaced with metals. Although CNTs can be directly synthesized on metal substrates, this process typically requires temperatures above 350 °C, which is not compatible for many applications. Additionally, the CNTs employed here were highly densified, making them suitable as interconnecting materials for electronic applications. This paper reports a method for the chemical bonding of vertically aligned CNTs onto metal substrates that avoids the need for high temperatures and can be performed at temperatures as low as 80 °C. Open-ended CNTs were directly bonded onto Cu and Pt substrates that had been functionalized using diazonium radical reactive species, thus allowing bond formation with the open-ended CNTs. Careful control during grafting of the organic species onto the metal substrates resulted in functional group uniformity, as demonstrated by FT-IR analysis. Scanning electron microscopy images confirmed the formation of direct connections between the vertically aligned CNTs and the metal substrates. Furthermore, electrochemical characterization and application as a sensor revealed the nature of the bonding between the CNTs and the metal substrates.
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