Quantitative structural analysis of individual nanotubes by electron diffraction

Jian Min Zuo, Taekyung Kim, Ayten Celik-Aktas, Jing Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A general method for quantitative structure analysis of individual, cylindrical, carbon nanotubes is described here. The method is based on electron diffraction of individual nanotubes and analysis using a combination of helical diffraction theory and diffraction geometry of the underlying lattice. Experimental recording of nanotube diffraction is achieved using a nanometer-sized electron beam. Procedures are developed for 1) the measurement of chiral angles in both single- and multi-wall nanotubes and 2) structure determination based on Bessel function fitting of layer line intensity oscillations. The accuracy of the method is demonstrated for the structure determination of a single- and double-wall carbon nanotubes and partial structural analysis of a multiwall carbon nanotube. The results show that the single-, double- and incommensurate multi-wall tubes are well described by the cylindrical tube model. However, a large Debye-Waller factor in the radial direction is obtained. The method developed here is general and can be applied to other cylindrical nanotubes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-633
Number of pages9
JournalZeitschrift fur Kristallographie
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2007


  • Chiral vector determination
  • Electron diffraction
  • Multiwall carbon nanotube
  • Nanotube structure analysis
  • Single wall carbon nanotube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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