Tailoring the diameter of single-walled carbon nanotubes for optical applications

Ying Tian, Marina Y. Timmermans, Samuli Kivistö, Albert G. Nasibulin, Zhen Zhu, Hua Jiang, Oleg G. Okhotnikov, Esko I. Kauppinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) with specific diameters are required for various applications particularly in electronics and photonics, since the diameter is an essential characteristic determining their electronic and optical properties. In this work, the selective growth of SWCNTs with a certain mean diameter is achieved by the addition of appropriate amounts of CO2 mixed with the carbon source (CO) into the aerosol (floating catalyst) chemical vapor deposition reactor. The noticeable shift of the peaks in the absorption spectra reveals that the mean diameters of the as-deposited SWCNTs are efficiently altered from 1.2 to 1.9 nm with increasing CO2 concentration. It is believed that CO2 acts as an etching agent and can selectively etch small diameter tubes due to their highly curved carbon surfaces. Polymer-free as-deposited SWCNT films with the desired diameters are used as saturable absorbers after stamping onto a highly reflecting Ag-mirror using a simple dry-transfer technique. Sub-picosecond mode-locked fiber laser operations at ~1.56 μm and ~2 μm are demonstrated, showing improvements in the performance after the optimization of the SWCNT properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-815
Number of pages9
JournalNano Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • diameter-controlled synthesis
  • mode-locked laser
  • optical absorption spectroscopy
  • saturable absorption
  • Single-walled carbon nanotube


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