The fast and cheap synthesis of carbon nanotubes is addressed in a large number of recent publications. At the same time, microwave-assisted synthesis has also gained interest. Besides the fact that reaction kinetics can be positively influenced by the use of microwave irradiation and advanced reaction conditions can be applied, absorption of microwave radiation depends on the material properties, thus resulting in a selective heating mechanism. The selective heating process allows for locally created temperatures high enough to promote the growth of carbon nanofibers and nanotubes on patterned iron catalyst layers. The resulting fibers are micrometers long, and can be synthesized in short time scales of a few minutes, yielding dense films of carbon fibers with uniform height. Here, the selective heating ofsurface bound iron nanoparticles is investigated in more detail, and experimental evidence for this effect is provided by utilizing a self- assembled monolayer of n-octadecyltrichlorosilane, which acts as a sensitive indicator for locally elevated temperatures. Special emphasis is placed on the development of an improved and controllable experimental setup that permits the safe and fast fabrication of the desired carbon objects. © 2009 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.