Carbon nanostructures are of great interest for a variety of applications, but their current processing throughput limits their industrial full scale deployment. This paper presents a cost effective and simple fabrication process, where vertically aligned carbon nanofibers are grown using DC-PECVD at CMOS compatible temperatures from catalytic nanoparticles, spin-coated from stable polymer-nanoparticle colloidal suspensions. Two different catalysts, Co and Cu, are investigated by growing carbon nanofibers at temperatures ranging from 390°C to 550°C, using suspensions with various concentrations of nanoparticles. The length and morphology of the grown nanofibers are examined using SEM and the electrical properties are investigated using electrochemical measurements on samples arranged as supercapacitor devices. Vertically aligned CNFs are successfully grown from both types of catalyst. The Co-derived fibers are long and arranged in a denser carpet-like structure, while the Cu-derived fibers are shorter and in a sparser formation of free-standing individual fibers. All electrochemical measurements show typical supercapacitor behaviour even at high scan rates of 200 mVs -1 , with the fibers grown from Co showing great increase in capacitance over the bare chip reference device, including the samples grown at 390°C. 

Graphical Abstract

Nanoparticles-enabled low temperature growth of carbon nanofibers and their properties for supercapacitors