What is it about?

We have discovered a new technique to attach gold, platinum and rhodium clusters to carbon nanotubes. We sprayed a colloidal solution into the post-discharge of an atmospheric argon or argon/oxygen RF plasma. The technique, which works at atmospheric pressure, enabled us to activate the surface and deposition processes in a single step. The plasma activation also made it possible to modify the sidewall structure of the carbon nanotubes without causing significant damage. We used TEM pictures to evaluate the impact of plasma activation on the carbon nanotubes. The technique creates a strong adhesion between the metal nanoparticles and the MWCNTs, enabling nanoparticles to be deposited uniformly onto the tubes' surfaces. The same surface composition indicates a strong reproducibility of the plasma treatment for the metal cluster deposition.

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Why is it important?

This research work is important because it presents a new, simple, robust, and efficient technique for decorating multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with metal nanoparticles. The method introduced in this study is different from those usually described in the literature, as the treatment is operated at atmospheric pressure, allowing the realization in only one step of the surface activation and the deposition processes. This technique has potential applications in various fields, including catalysis, sensing, and electronics. Additionally, we demonstrate experimentally that the addition of oxygen gas in the plasma increases significantly the amount of grafted metal nanoparticles, which can be useful in tailoring the properties of the decorated MWCNTs. The results of this study also show that the metal nanoparticles are well controlled in size, indicating the potential for precise engineering of nanomaterials. Overall, this research work contributes to the advancement of nanomaterials science and technology.


The perspectives of this research work include several potential applications in the field of nanotechnology including an approach that could significantly reduce the cost of producing nanohybrid materials. The method used in this study may also have broader applications in nanotechnology, including the fabrication of sensors, catalysts, and other advanced materials. Furthermore, the study suggests that the amount of grafted metal nanoparticles can be increased by the addition of oxygen gas in the plasma, which may help to further optimize the fabrication process for the deposition of metal nanoparticles on carbon nanotubes. Finally, this research work opens new possibilities for the creation of novel materials and technologies, with significant potential for future applications in fields such as energy, electronics, and biomedicine.

Dr Thierry Dufour

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This page is a summary of: Carbon nanotubes decorated with gold, platinum and rhodium clusters by injection of colloidal solutions into the post-discharge of an RF atmospheric plasma, Nanotechnology, August 2010, Institute of Physics Publishing, DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/21/38/385603.
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