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The Leibniz Institute IFW Dresden has been working on the synthesis of tailor-made carbon nanotubes for more than 10 years. In numerous projects for the DFG and BMBF (within Inno.CNT), it has synthesised, functionalised and/or coated carbon nanotubes for, among other applications: polymer composites (percolation); embedding in metals such as Al and Cu or concrete materials; application in super capacitors, field emission cathodes or absorbers; and toxicological studies. The results have been summarised in more than 40 publications over the last 10 years.
CVD techniques (fixed-bed and floating methods) are used as the manufacturing processes. The research focuses on defined diameters and lengths of nanotubes, low defect density, doping with nitrogen and boron, dispersion in aqueous and organic solutions, complete coating of individual nanotubes, and filling the nanotubes. The aim is to optimise the chemical, mechanical, electrical, optical and thermal properties and to minimise the toxic properties.
The IFW, a network partner, can synthesise carbon nanotubes on the gram scale (up to 500 g), and is interested in collaborative projects for developing principle solutions (proof of principle).
One of the IFW's particular strengths is the complex characterisation of carbon nanostructures. High-resolution scanning and transmission electron microscopy is available, along with spectroscopic methods such as Raman spectroscopy, XPS, EDX and WDS. BET and thermogravimetry are routine analyses; atomic force microscopy is used for topographic analyses; and high-sensitivity magnetometers are used to measure magnetic nanoeffects. The electrical conductivity can be determined based on powders and individual nanotubes.
The stability of dispersions of CNTs in aqueous and organic solutions can be compared quantitatively using a LUMiSizer.