Open Access Open Badges Nano Express

Field Emission and Radial Distribution Function Studies of Fractal-like Amorphous Carbon Nanotips

F Solá1, A Biaggi-Labiosa1, LF Fonseca1*, O Resto1, M Lebrón-Colón2 and MA Meador2

Author affiliations

1 Department of Physics, Institute for Functional Nanomaterials, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, P.O. Box 23343, San Juan, PR, 00931, USA

2 Polymeric Materials Branch, Materials and Structures Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Glenn Research Center, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH, 44135, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 4:431-436  doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9270-5

Published: 13 February 2009


The short-range order of individual fractal-like amorphous carbon nanotips was investigated by means of energy-filtered electron diffraction in a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The nanostructures were grown in porous silicon substrates in situ within the TEM by the electron beam-induced deposition method. The structure factorS(k) and the reduced radial distribution functionG(r) were calculated. From these calculations a bond angle of 124° was obtained which suggests a distorted graphitic structure. Field emission was obtained from individual nanostructures using two micromanipulators with sub-nanometer positioning resolution. A theoretical three-stage model that accounts for the geometry of the nanostructures provides a value for the field enhancement factor close to the one obtained experimentally from the Fowler-Nordheim law.

Carbon nanotips; Graphite-like a-C; EELS; EFED; Field emission