Open Access Nano Express

Effect of Purity and Substrate on Field Emission Properties of Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes

RB Rakhi12, K Sethupathi2 and S Ramaprabhu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Alternative Energy Technology Laboratory, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, 600036, India

2 Low Temperature Laboratory, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, 600036, India

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2007, 2:331-336  doi:10.1007/s11671-007-9067-3

Published: 21 June 2007

Abstract

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) have been synthesized by chemical vapour decomposition (CVD) of acetylene over Rare Earth (RE) based AB2(DyNi2) alloy hydride catalyst. The as-grown carbon nanotubes were purified by acid and heat treatments and characterized using powder X-ray diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Thermo Gravimetric Analysis and Raman Spectroscopy. Fully carbon based field emitters have been fabricated by spin coating a solutions of both as-grown and purified MWNT and dichloro ethane (DCE) over carbon paper with and without graphitized layer. The use of graphitized carbon paper as substrate opens several new possibilities for carbon nanotube (CNT) field emitters, as the presence of the graphitic layer provides strong adhesion between the nanotubes and carbon paper and reduces contact resistance. The field emission characteristics have been studied using an indigenously fabricated set up and the results are discussed. CNT field emitter prepared by spin coating of the purified MWNT–DCE solution over graphitized carbon paper shows excellent emission properties with a fairly stable emission current over a period of 4 h. Analysis of the field emission characteristics based on the Fowler–Nordheim (FN) theory reveals current saturation effects at high applied fields for all the samples.

Keywords:
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes; DyNi2alloy hydride; Spin coating; Dichloro ethane; Graphitized carbon paper; CNT field emitter; Fowler–Nordheim theory