A Combined Theoretical and Experimental Study on the Fabrication of Carbon Nanotube Networks

Project: Research

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The proposed project aims to develop a practical method for the fabrication of carbon nanotube (CNT) network structure. The theoretical study will be able to provide guidance for the experimental fabrication of CNT network. Also, a novel technique will be explored for the experimental research of assembling a network pattern and interconnecting carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to form a super graphene (SG) network structure by laser nano-joining. When the CNTs are connected covalently, the assembled SG structures are expected to possess superior mechanical, optical, electrical and thermal properties, showing broad application prospects in the fields of conductive film material, display materials, wave-transmitting material, advanced stealth composite, electronic manufacture, flexible device fabrication, hydrogen storage, etc., which are strikingly different from those of primary graphene or CNTs. Hence, it is of great significance to carry out scientific research on the CNT network structures. However, to date, little is known about the mechanism of the smooth chemical connection of CNTs, and there have been no experimental report of successful manufacturing of CNT network structures. How to regularly arrange CNTs into SG six-membered ring pattern, and then how to covalently connect CNTs together, are two key aspects to the formation of SG functional covalent network. In this project, the method, including two important steps of 1) self-assembling CNTs to form hexagon patterns on properly functionalized silicon dioxide substrate and 2) laser-irradiation inducing CNTs to be interconnected together at each SG pattern node, is first proposed. Both multiphysics-based finite element method (FEM) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are employed to study the mechanism of self-assembly and interconnection of CNTs, Especially, a series of MD models composed of CNTs, functional groups, solution and substrate will be established to study the self-assembly mechanism. The FEM and MD methods will be adopted to simulate the formation of nanojunctions at SG pattern nodes by laser-irradiation, and the atomistic mechanism of laser joining between CNTs will be analyzed in detail. These theoretical studies will provide strong support for the experimental research. Based on the theoretical study, a novel technique will be developed for the fabrication of CNT network structures by the method of chemical self-assembly combined with laser joining. Once developed and verified, the proposed project will be able to fabricate the CNT network structures and promote the design of advanced nano-devices with excellent properties in the future. 


Project number9043314
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/23 → …