Open Access Nano Express

Selective Deposition and Alignment of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Assisted by Dielectrophoresis: From Thin Films to Individual Nanotubes

Pengfei Li and Wei Xue*

Author affiliations

Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science, Washington State University, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue, Vancouver, WA, 98686, USA

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2010, 5:1072-1078  doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9604-3

Published: 17 April 2010

Abstract

Dielectrophoresis has been used in the controlled deposition of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) with the focus on the alignment of nanotube thin films and their applications in the last decade. In this paper, we extend the research from the selective deposition of SWNT thin films to the alignment of small nanotube bundles and individual nanotubes. Electrodes with “teeth”-like patterns are fabricated to study the influence of the electrode width on the deposition and alignment of SWNTs. The entire fabrication process is compatible with optical lithography-based techniques. Therefore, the fabrication cost is low, and the resulting devices are inexpensive. A series of SWNT solutions is prepared with concentrations ranging from 0.0125 to 0.2 mg/ml. The alignment of SWNT thin films, small bundles, and individual nanotubes is achieved under the optimized experimental conditions. The electrical properties of these samples are characterized; the linear current–voltage plots prove that the aligned SWNTs are mainly metallic nanotubes. The microscopy inspection of the samples demonstrates that the alignment of small nanotube bundles and individual nanotubes can only be achieved using narrow electrodes and low-concentration solutions. Our investigation shows that it is possible to deposit a controlled amount of SWNTs in desirable locations using dielectrophoresis.

Keywords:
Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT); Dielectrophoresis (DEP); Thin film; Nanotube bundle; Individual nanotube; Deposition