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Rigueur, John
Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Materials Science, May 2012

Research Information

Ph.D. Thesis Title
Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Films: Fabrication Techniques and Applications

Ph.D. Thesis Advisors
Tim Hanusa (Chemistry) & David Ernst (Physics)

Ph.D. Committee Members
Charles Lukehart (Chemistry)
Norman Tolk (Physics)
Arnold Burger (Fisk)
Stephanie Getty (NASA)


Abstract. The purpose of our investigation is to optimize the growth of catalyst assisted chemical vapor deposition grown carbon nanotubes for use as a photon absorbers in mid- to far-infrared applications. Improvement of the height and density of the carbon nanotubes will effectively increase the films absorptivity, bringing this material closer to an ideal absorber. NASA is currently exploring the use of this technology towards improving the stray light suppression of space flight instruments for future earth and space science missions. Detrimental to these scientific instruments is the stray light that scatters on interior telescope and instrument surfaces, thereby reducing the performance of observational instruments. In order to control this undesired effect, low-reflectance surface treatments are implemented in structural instrument designs. Z306 black paint is traditionally used to absorb stray photons, but advanced absorbers that employ films of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have been shown to provide an order of magnitude improvement over current surface treatments in the UV-visible-near infrared wavelengths of 300 nanometers to 2.0 microns. In this work, we report on a method of optimization for nanotube films to extend the order of magnitude improvement to spectral wavelengths greater than 2 micrometers using catalyst assisted chemical vapor deposition (CVD). To this end, we varied the thickness of the iron catalyst layer and deposition conditions; varied hydrogen exposure times of substrates to optimize the MWCNT length and film density for efficient absorption of longer wavelength photons. Due to the need to survive launch and other challenging environments, Goddard has developed an alumina layer for adhesion of the MWCNTs on silicon and titanium substrates for use throughout this optimization process. Scanning electron microscopy is used to characterize film density and MWCNT height, and hemispherical reflectance measurements are used to quantify performance of the absorptive films.

Selected Publications

Buckypaper fabrication by liberation of electrophoretically deposited carbon nanotubes. Rigueur, JL; Hasan, SA; Mahajan, SV; Dickerson, JH, CARBON, 48, 4090-4099 , (2010)

Transferable Graphene Oxide Films with Tunable Microstructures. Hasan, SA; Rigueur, JL; Harl, RR; Krejci, AJ; Gonzalo-Juan, I; Rogers, BR; Dickerson, JH, ACS NANO, 4, 7367-7372 , (2010)

Vanderbilt University