promoting the sustainable and responsible use of cobalt in all forms

Future Technologies: Embedding carbon nanotubes with cobalt nanoparticles


Since 2005, research into metal nanoparticles (MNPs) and their composites has resulted in a wide range of applications in different technologies. Perhaps the most heavily researched MNPs to date are those of cobalt. Ground breaking synthetic techniques which allow the size, structure and magnetic properties of cobalt to be controlled, has resulted in composites being created which are utilized in the cathode of li-ion batteries, Fischer Tropsch synthesis catalysts and biomedical and thermoelectric applications.

In a publication written by Andreev et al. (2017) published in April, one such composite combines cobalt MNPs and carbon nanotubes (CNT), a material that has also seen a great deal of interest due to its large surface area and electrical properties. The publication highlights a potential future for the combination of cobalt MNPs and CNTs as their combination allows the modification of the intrinsic magnetic and electrical properties as well as the creation of unique hybrid structures. Indeed, polymer nanocomposites that are composed of conducting and ferro-magnetic particles within an insulating polymer matrix have great potential of being used in materials for actuators, sensors, energy storage devices and energy conversion devices.

Advantages of combining cobalt nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes

The advantage of combining MNPs and CNTs as opposed to just using MNPs, include an increased resistance to oxidation and sintering even for high metal loading. CNT’s large surface area confers this characteristic as it can reach up to 1100m2/g, changeable by increasing or decreasing the thickness and diameter of the tube. CNT’s do not just bring a large surface area to the table however as they also confer unique electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. By producing materials composed of cobalt MNPs and CNT’s, unique electro-magnetic characteristics can be conveyed which also have the ability to be tuned dependant on the shape, size and composition of cobalt MNP to CNT.

For more read Andreev et al. (2017) article “Magnetic and dielectric properties of carbon nanotubes with embedded cobalt nanoparticles”.


Andreev AS, Kazakova MA, Ischenko AV, Selyutin AG (2017). Magnetic and dielectric properties of carbon nanotubes with embedded cobalt nanoparticles. Carbon, 114, 39-49.

Photo credit: Mstroeck, Wikipedia