Chemically pure carbon fibers with small fiber diameters and high growth rates were obtained by laser assisted chemical vapor deposition (LCVD) using high reactor pressures and a unique rate control mechanism. Depending upon growth conditions and gases, these fibers were either flexible (elastic), brittle (thickened) or graphitic (strong). The elastic carbon fibers were uniform and appear to represent a novel form of carbon. The reactants were acetylene, ethylene or methane, and the reaction pressures ranged from 1.9 to 7.5 bar. The highest fiber growth rate was 0.33 mrn/s, and the lowest fiber diameter was 10 μm.