Research Highlight

Camphor nanotubes

Biplab Das

doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.321 Published online 20 November 2008

Researchers have created carbon nanofibres (CNF) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNs) from camphor, a natural hydrocarbon product obtained from the latex of camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora)1. CNF and MWCNs have applications in electron field emitters for optical displays and microfabricated X-ray sources.

Given the growing environmental concern over synthetic carbon products coupled with depleting reserves of petroleum, researchers have been looking for alternative source materials. Camphor being eco-friendly and widely used in Indian traditional medicine seemed suitable.

Using thermal chemical vapour deposition method, the researchers produced the nanomaterials. CNF was collected on films made of cobalt and iron on silicon substrates.

MWCNs were grown on silicon substrate using a mixture of ferrocene (an iron containing compound) and camphor. Breakdown of ferrocene yields iron nanoparticles, which aids in the growth of carbon nanotubes. Breakdown of camphor molecule gives the necessary carbon for carbon nanotube growth for MWCNs.

Among the materials studied, MWCNs seems to be better candidates for field electron emission. The carbon-based one-dimensional nanomaterials show good field electron emission property, suggesting their possible use in field electron emission based applications, the researchers say.

The authors of this work are from: Applied Science Innovations Private Limited, Maharashtra, India; Department of Electronics and Information Engineering, Chubu University, Matsumoto-cho, Kasugai, Japan; Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya Institute of Technology, Nagoya, Japan; School of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Avenue, Singapore.


  1. Somani, P. S. et al. Carbon nanofibers and multiwalled carbon nanotubes from camphor and their field electron emission. Curr. Appl. Phy. 9, 144-150 (2009) | Article |