The thin CNCs were synthesized by the following procedure: mixing Fe and Sn powders and Y-type zeolite in dilute hydrochloric acid solution; sonicating the resulting solution and drying in a furnace; passing a gas mixture of C2H2/N2 over the zeolite with the Fe and Sn catalysts in a quartz tube reactor at 700°C.
The thin CNCs had fiber and coil diameters of 15 nm and 50 nm, respectively, with a hollow and multi-walled structure of cylindrical graphitic layers. The researchers refer to the thin CNCs as 'multi-walled CNC', which had a left hand helix that was confirmed by electron tomography.
Reducing the diameter of the CNCs induced the structural changes from amorphous to graphitic, which implies the enhancement of the electrical as well as mechanical characteristics. This multi-walled CNCs may find applications in battery technology and nanoelectromechanical systems.
Video showing the 3D image of the multi-walled CNCs with Au nanoparticles.