Here we demonstrate that the incorporation of boron (B) atoms between double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWNTs) during thermal annealing (1400-1600°C) results in covalent nanotube "Y" junctions, DWNT coalescence, and the formation of flattened multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs). These processes occur via the merging of adjacent tubes, which is triggered by B interstitial atoms. We observe that B atom interstitials between DWNTs are responsible for the rapid establishment of covalent connections between neighboring tubes (polymerization), thereby resulting in the fast annealing of the carbon cylinders with B atoms embedded in the newly created carbon nanotube network. Once B is in the lattice, tube faceting (polygonization) starts to occur, and the electronic properties are expected to change dramatically. Therefore, B atoms indeed act as atomic nanotube fusers (or welders), and this process could now be used in assembling novel electronic nanotube devices, nanotube networks, carbon nanofoams and heterojunctions exhibiting p-type electronic properties.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Chemistry
- General Materials Science
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering