A process, called carbon nanotube templated microfabrication (CNT-M) makes high aspect ratio microstructures out of a wide variety of materials by growing patterned vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNTs) as a framework and then infiltrating various materials into the frameworks by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). By using the CNT-M procedure, a partial Si infiltration of carbon nanotube frameworks results in porous three dimensional microscale shapes consisting of silicon-carbon nanotube composites. The addition of thin silicon shells to the vertically aligned CNTs (VACNTs) enables the fabrication of robust silicon nanostructures with edibility to design a wide range of geometries. Nanoscale dimensions are determined by the diameter and spacing of the resulting silicon/carbon nanotubes while microscale dimensions are controlled by the lithographic patterning of CNT growth catalyst. The characterization and application of the new silicon nanomaterial, silicon-carbon core-shell nanotube (Si/CNT) composite, is investigated thoroughly in the dissertation.The Si/CNT composite is used as thin layer chromatography (TLC) separations media with precise microscale channels for fluid flow control and nanoscale porosity for high analyte capacity. Chemical separations done on the CNT-M structured media outperform commercial high performance TLC media resulting from separation efficiency and retention factor. The Si/CNT composite is also used as an anode material for lithium ion batteries. The composite is assembled into cells and tested by cycling against a lithium counter electrode. This CNT-M structured composite provides an effective test bed for studying the effects of geometry (e.g. electrode thickness, porosity, and surface area) on capacity and cycling performance. A combination of high gravimetric, volumetric, and areal capacity makes the composite an enabling materials system for high performance Li-ion batteries.Last, a thermal annealing to the Si/CNT composite results in the formation of silicon carbide nanowires (SiCNWs). This combination of annealing and Si/CNTs yields a unique fabrication approach resulting in porous three dimensional silicon carbide structures with precise control over shape and porosity.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Physics and Astronomy



Date Submitted


Document Type





Carbon Nanotube, Silicon Nanowire, Thin Layer Chromatography, Lithium ion Battery, Silicon Carbide