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A method comprising: dispersing carbon nanotubes in a solvent; and depositing the carbon nanotubes on a porous, conductive substrate; wherein the porous, conductive substrate is capable of functioning as a filter and a working electrode.
In addition, physisorption and electroless plating processes often result in chunky metal particles (≧50 nm in diameter) mounted on the CNT surface, where severe dislodging is often observed due to the large size of the metal particles and the relatively loose attachment.The method of claim 1 further comprising: engaging the porous, conductive substrate with deposited carbon nanotubes in an electrochemical cell; and depositing at least one metallic structure on the surface of the carbon nanotubes from an electrolyte solution to form metallized carbon nanotubes.A composite comprising: metallized carbon nanotubes generated by the method of claim 2; wherein the at least one metallic structure comprises a conductive metal atom selected from the group consisting of platinum, gold nickel, copper, iron, chromium, zinc, and combinations thereof; and a matrix material selected from the group consisting of epoxies, thermosets, thermoplastics, elastomers, metals, metal matrix composites, ceramics and combinations thereof., wherein the step of depositing the carbon nanotubes is accomplished by a method selected from the group consisting of pressure filtration, vacuum filtration, spraying, film coating, and combinations thereof., wherein the step of electrodepositing metallic nanostructures comprises an electrochemical technique selected from the group consisting of constant potential, linear sweep voltammetry, cyclic voltammetry, pulse voltammetry, and combinations thereof., wherein the at least one electrodeposited metallic nanostructure has a morphology selected from the group consisting of discrete particles, aggregations of particles, continuous coatings, discontinuous coatings and combinations thereof., wherein the step of electrodepositing the at least one metallic nanostructure is controlled by varying at least one condition selected from the group consisting of electrical potential, electrical current, temperature, p H, agitation rate, electrolyte compositions, deposition time, pulse settings, and combinations thereof.The additional CNT sidewall defects act as either attachment sites (physisorption) or nucleation sites (electroless plating) to achieve metallization.
However, sidewall defects are known to degrade the mechanical and electrical properties of CNTs and the oxidative acid treatment to create the defects is, thus far, a time-consuming and uncontrolled process.
Although the metallization of nanotubes has been accomplished by previous methods, each method has limitations affecting its commercial feasibility.