Notable progress has been made on the synthesis, properties and uses of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in the past two decades. However, the controlled growth of single-wall CNTs (SWCNTs) with predefined and uniform structures remains a big challenge, and making full use of CNTs in applications still requires great effort. In this article, our strategies and recent progress on the controlled synthesis of SWCNTs by chemical vapor deposition are reviewed, and the applications of CNTs in lithium-ion batteries, transparent conductive films, and as connectors of metal atomic chains are discussed. Finally, future prospects for CNTs are considered.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2013.01.019