Carbon nanotubes (CNT) have captured the attention of materials scientists and technologists due to their unique one-dimensional structure by virtue of which they acquire superior electrical, mechanical, and chemical properties. Current methods for CNT growth on substrates have their drawbacks. Vertically aligned CNT growth on metallic substrates requires catalyst islands on the substrate, which limits its ultimate application. Aligned CNT growth is a complicated, multi-step process and requires a brittle substrate, such as indium tin oxide. This invention permits the growth of well-aligned CNTs on a metal substrate--INCONEL 600--and on any other metal substrate coated with INCONEL 600. This interface provides good electrical contact, and shows strong mechanical adhesion. This invention is a major step in overcoming the substrate limitation for nanotube growth, and will have a huge impact on the advancement and development of future CNT-related technologies in diverse fields.