A method of growing a free-standing structure, such as a fiber, rod, or tube. A laser beam having is focused on a terminal end of the fiber to heat the terminal end, and at least one gaseous precursor is provided into the beam. At least one electrode is located at a distance from the terminal end. The electrode is in electrical communication with the free-standing structure. A potential is applied between the terminal end and the at least one electrode. The applied potential creates a localized high pressure plasma in the vicinity of the terminal end, and generates reactive species from the gaseous precursor, and accelerates reactive species to the terminal end to grow the free-standing structure at an enhanced rate. An apparatus for growing fibers according to the method is also disclosed.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.