We grow vertically aligned carbon nanotube forests on refractory conductive films of TiSiN and achieve area densities of (5.1 ± 0.1) × 1012 tubes cm-2 and mass densities of about 0.3 g cm-3. The TiSiN films act as diffusion barriers limiting catalyst diffusion into the bulk of the support, and their low surface energy favours catalyst de-wetting, inducing forests to grow by the root growth mechanism. The nanotube area density is maximised by an additional discontinuous AlOx layer, which inhibits catalyst nanoparticle sintering by lateral surface diffusion. The forests and the TiSiN support show ohmic conduction. These results suggest that TiSiN is the favoured substrate for nanotube forest growth on conductors and liable of finding real applications in microelectronics.
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