Studies of carbon nanomaterials based on fullerenes and carbon nanotubes

University dissertation from Umeå : Fysik

Abstract: Materials based on fullerenes and carbon nanotubes are very much different from most “traditional” materials, primarily because they are built from nanosized molecules with highly symmetry-dependent properties. Being the subject of a very active research field over the last twenty years, carbon nanostructures proved to be indeed extraordinary. Their splendid mechanical properties attract a great interest among material scientists. Their wide range of electrical properties, from ballistic conductors to insulators, makes them ideal candidates for future, better electronics. The possibilities seem to be nearly unlimited, with proposed applications ranging from quantum computing to medicine. However, in order to make it all happen one day, we first need to explore and understand the physics and chemistry of carbon nanomaterials. This work focuses on production and characterization of materials and structures in which fullerenes and/or carbon nanotubes are the main ingredients, and which can be produced or modified under high-pressure – high-temperature (hp-hT) conditions. Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and scanning probe microscopy were employed for characterization of the samples. The research presented in this thesis is spread over a rather wide range of carbon nanomaterials. To highlight some of the main results – the first hp-hT polymerization of C60 nanorods and the C60-cubane compound is reported. The polymerization mechanism in the latter case was identified to be radically different from that in pure C60. The pressure-temperature diagram of C60-cubane is presented. A comparative study of C60 and C70 peapods under extreme p-T conditions reveals how the confinement affects the fullerenes’ ability for polymerization. Finally, in situ resistance measurements on Rb4C60 under high pressure show that the semiconducting character of this material persists at least up to 2 GPa, contradicting earlier reports on the existence of an insulator-to-metal transition and providing an insight into conduction mechanisms in this anomalous intercalated compound.

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