Our group has successfully synthesized a new mesoscopic material via Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) technique in an attempt to dope boron on a form of Pseudo-Graphite known as GUITAR. By adding a boron precursor into the solution we discovered new mesoscopic structures that have formed with varying tubular morphologies. We call these novel structures BOD (Boron Orthocarborane Doped) Carbon and intend to explore their growth characteristics and possible applications. Some of these applications include hydrogen storage and improved battery technologies.
We utilize a CVD technique to grow this material. Through this method we flow nitrogen into a flask that is heated on a hotplate. The vapor is then carried through a tube furnace at 900 °C where the structures are then grown for various times. We have found that by manipulating time of the reaction and amount of boron in our mixture as well as cooling rate we can create different morphologies.
We have successfully grown the material numerous times on different substrates while varying parameters such as boron content, growth time, and cooling time. X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) has been performed for surface characterization. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images have been taken to show the differences in growth as well as the graphitic composition of the material. Plans are in play to computationally model the growth of these structures and demonstrate that inclusion of boron into the carbon structure induces stress and alterations on the curvature of the original carbon structure (pure GUITAR), and therefore different morphologies are produced as boron content is varied.