Hydrogen-catalyzed, pilot-scale production of small-diameter boron nitride nanotubes and their macroscopic assemblies

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1021/nn501661p
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TypeArticle
Journal titleACS Nano
ISSN1936-086X
Volume8
Issue6
Pages62116220; # of pages: 10
SubjectBoron nitride; Carbon nanotubes; Plasmas; Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs); Hexagonal boron nitride; High quality; Induction thermal plasma; large scale; Pilot-scale production; Assembly
AbstractBoron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) exhibit a range of properties that are as compelling as those of carbon nanotubes (CNTs); however, very low production volumes have prevented the science and technology of BNNTs from evolving at even a fraction of the pace of CNTs. Here we report the high-yield production of small-diameter BNNTs from pure hexagonal boron nitride powder in an induction thermal plasma process. Few-walled, highly crystalline small-diameter BNNTs (∼5 nm) are produced exclusively and at an unprecedentedly high rate approaching 20 g/h, without the need for metal catalysts. An exceptionally high cooling rate (∼105 K/s) in the induction plasma provides a strong driving force for the abundant nucleation of small-sized B droplets, which are known as effective precursors for small-diameter BNNTs. It is also found that the addition of hydrogen to the reactant gases is crucial for achieving such high-quality, high-yield growth of BNNTs. In the plasma process, hydrogen inhibits the formation of N2 from N radicals and promotes the creation of B-N-H intermediate species, which provide faster chemical pathways to the re-formation of a h-BN-like phase in comparison to nitridation from N2. We also demonstrate the fabrication of macroscopic BNNT assemblies such as yarns, sheets, buckypapers, and transparent thin films at large scales. These findings represent a seminal milestone toward the exploitation of BNNTs in real-world applications. © Published 2014 by the American Chemical Society.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); Security and Disruptive Technologies
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272133
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Record identifier24beb41b-c1d6-4b37-ab18-04a0c611f71f
Record created2014-07-23
Record modified2016-05-09
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