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Journal Article

Iron impregnation on the amorphous shell of vapor grown carbon fibers and the catalytic growth of secondary nanofibers


Su,  Dang Sheng
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Xia, W., Bitter, J. H., Su, D. S., Quian, J., & Muhler, M. (2009). Iron impregnation on the amorphous shell of vapor grown carbon fibers and the catalytic growth of secondary nanofibers. Diamond & Related Materials, 18(1), 13-19. doi:10.1016/j.diamond.2008.07.011.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-FA69-C
Vapor grown carbon fibers (VGCFs) with diameters of several microns were synthesized and investigated by high resolution transmission electron microscopy. It was found that the shell of the VGCFs consisted of densely-packed domains embedded in loosely-packed matrix, and both were highly amorphous. Regular edge planes as observed on the surface of fishbone nanofibers do not exist on VGCFs. Hence, surface treatment is more important for the deposition of catalysts. Ammonium ferric citrate (AFC) was employed for the impregnation of iron, where the high viscosity of the aqueous solution of AFC is beneficial. Calcination was found to be a key step to improve the dispersion of the iron particles, which can be attributed to enhanced interactions between iron and carbon due to the gasification of carbon occurring at the iron-carbon interface. Quantitative analysis by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed that the calcination of the supported AFC led to a higher atomic concentration of iron on the surface, indicating smaller particle size and higher dispersion. Secondary carbon nanofibers were grown subsequently on the VGCFs from cyclohexane. The specific surface area was enhanced considerably, from less than 1 m2 g-1 to 106 m2 g-1 after the growth of the secondary nanofibers. The obtained composites are promising materials as structured support in heterogeneous catalysis.