Tantalum carbide nanorods and nanoparticles have been synthesized using a vapor-solid reaction path starting with CVD grown carbon nanotube precursors. Their structures were studied using XRD, TEM, and HRSEM. Superconducting properties were characterized using a SQUID magnetometer. For reactions at lower temperatures, carbide nanorods, which replicate the ∼14 nm diameter of the precursor carbon nanotubes, are observed. For higher temperature reactions, coarsened carbide nanoparticles (100-250 nm) are observed which have spherical or cubic-faceted morphologies. A morphological Rayleigh instability is postulated as initiating the transition from nanorod to nanoparticle morphologies. Stoichiometric bulk TaC crystallizes in the rock salt structure and has a superconducting transition temperature of 9.7 K. In TaC nanorods and nanoparticles, the superconducting properties correlate with the lattice parameter. Nanoparticles with a little higher lattice parameter than the ideal one show higher Tc and higher fields at which the superconductivity disappears than stoichiometric bulk TaC.
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