Nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes self-catalytically grown on desert sands towards water purification

  • Jian Wu
  • Yu Lu
  • Yongqiang Liu
  • Jiaye Chen
  • Bin Han
  • Siriguleng BaiEmail author
  • Dongsheng GengEmail author
Brief Communication


This paper describes a facile method for the preparation of three-dimensional entangled nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (N-CNTs) on sand via a chemical vapor deposition method without the need of additional catalyst. The EDS mapping and XPS characterization confirm that the sand from the desert of Inner Mongolia in our study contains Fe, Al, Ca, Mg, and Si elements and/or their based oxides, which are natural catalysts even supports enabling the growth of CNTs. Rhodamine 6G as a dye pollution in water was employed to confirm N-CNTs@Sand composite’s absorbability by UV-vis spectroscopy. In view of the hierarchical structure and nitrogen doping, the N-CNTs@Sand could adsorb contaminants from water much more effectively than the natural sand. This study provides a new route for designing carbon coated materials for water filter.

Graphical abstract

Three-dimensional interwoven N-CNTs were successfully prepared on sand via a one-step CVD method without additional catalysts. The N-CNTs@Sand could adsorb Rhodamine 6G contaminant from water much more effectively than the natural sand.


Sand Nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes Water purification Chemical vapor deposition 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the “1000 Talents Recruitment Program” of Chinese government, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. FRF-TP-16-070A1) and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2017M610764). Siriguleng acknowledges the support from the Ph.D. Candidate Research Innovation Fund of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (B20161012).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Materials Genome Engineering, Center for Green Innovation, Beijing Key Laboratory for Magneto-Photoelectrical Composite and Interface Science, School of Mathematics and PhysicsUniversity of Science and Technology BeijingBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of ScienceInner Mongolia University of TechnologyHohhotPeople’s Republic of China

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