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Carbon nanofiber ͑CNF͒ with springlike and double-helix structures has been synthesized by catalytic thermal pyrolysis of an acetylene precursor at 850-950°C using iron nanopowder and thiophene as catalyst and promoter, respectively. High resolution electron microscopy revealed a higher d-spacing ͑ϳ3.46 Å͒ of ͑002͒ crystal plane than customary multiwalled carbon nanotube ͑MWCNT͒ ͑3.37 Å͒ that helps in sustaining mechanical shocks better than MWCNTs. The large surface to volume ratio ofdoi:10.1063/1.3206663 fatcat:an2rujehhvfnrkjplirk676rqa