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Effect of Substrate Morphology on Growth and Field Emission Properties of Carbon Nanotube Films

Sanjay K Srivastava12*, VD Vankar1, Vikram Kumar2 and VN Singh1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Physics, Thin Film Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi, 110016, India

2 National Physical Laboratory, Dr. K.S. Krishnan Marg, Pusa, New Delhi, 110012, India

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2008, 3:205-212  doi:10.1007/s11671-008-9138-0

Published: 13 June 2008

Abstract

Carbon nanotube (CNT) films were grown by microwave plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition process on four types of Si substrates: (i) mirror polished, (ii) catalyst patterned, (iii) mechanically polished having pits of varying size and shape, and (iv) electrochemically etched. Iron thin film was used as catalytic material and acetylene and ammonia as the precursors. Morphological and structural characteristics of the films were investigated by scanning and transmission electron microscopes, respectively. CNT films of different morphology such as vertically aligned, randomly oriented flowers, or honey-comb like, depending on the morphology of the Si substrates, were obtained. CNTs had sharp tip and bamboo-like internal structure irrespective of growth morphology of the films. Comparative field emission measurements showed that patterned CNT films and that with randomly oriented morphology had superior emission characteristics with threshold field as low as ~2.0 V/μm. The defective (bamboo-structure) structures of CNTs have been suggested for the enhanced emission performance of randomly oriented nanotube samples.

Keywords:
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs); Bamboo-structured CNTs (BS-CNTs); Chemical vapor deposition (CVD); Transmission electron microscopy (TEM); Field emission