Photonic Sorting of Aligned, Crystalline Carbon Nanotube Textiles08 Nov 2017
Floating catalyst chemical vapor deposition uniquely generates aligned carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles with individual CNT lengths magnitudes longer than competing processes, though hindered by impurities and intrinsic/extrinsic defects. We present a photonic-based post-process, particularly suited for these textiles, that selectively removes defective CNTs and other carbons not forming a threshold thermal pathway. In this method, a large diameter laser beam rasters across the surface of a partly aligned CNT textile in air, suspended from its ends. This results in brilliant, localized oxidation, where remaining material is an optically transparent film comprised of few-walled CNTs with profound and unique improvement in microstructure alignment and crystallinity. Raman spectroscopy shows substantial D peak suppression while preserving radial breathing modes. This increases the undoped, specific electrical conductivity at least an order of magnitude to beyond that of single-crystal graphite. Cryogenic conductivity measurements indicate intrinsic transport enhancement, opposed to simply removing nonconductive carbons/residual catalyst.