Direct Observation of Carbon Nanostructure Growth at Liquid-Solid Interfaces

Fei, Lin-feng, Tie-yu Sun, Wei Lu, Xiaogiang An, Zhuo-feng Hu, Jimmy C. Yu, W. Yang, et al., 2014

Image courtesy of Chem. Comm.


Our TEM observation revealed that in a carbon–Pt3Co system, amorphous carbon first crystallized into nanoclusters at step-edges on melting Pt3Co surfaces before merging into graphene layers through a kinetic restructuring via oriented-attachment, leading to the final formation of few-layered graphene nanostructures. The result obtained from density-functional theory calculations further suggested that Co atoms rather than Pt atoms acted as initial nucleation centers.

Impact Statement

The Fusion heating capabilities were used in a JEOL 2100F TEM to observe the liquidsolid nucleation and growth of graphene nanostructures from Pt3Co. It was found that graphene (carbon was sourced from the amorphous support film already on the
thermal E-chip) nucleates near Co atoms at step edges at temperatures above 500° C. It’s been reported that defects such as step ledges lead to nucleation of carbon crystals. Additional growth through oriented attachment was also observed. The high stability
of the Fusion system at high temperatures enabled the researchers to visualize this process in real time at high resolution.