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Direct synthesis of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) bridging prepatterned Mo electrodes has been achieved using laser-assisted chemical vapor deposition (LCVD). The synthesized SWNTs are found predominantly semiconducting. By controlling the spot size of the focused laser beam, synthesis of SWNTs can be achieved in a localized manner, which is governed by the thermal and optical properties of materials as well as the laser parameters. The synthesis process is fast and can be achieved in both far- and near-infrared laser wavelength regions. LCVD method provides a potential approach to in situ remove SWNTs with specific chiralities during the growth. © 2006 American Institute of Physics.