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Evaluation of the nanotube intrinsic resistance across the tip-carbon nanotube-metal substrate junction by Atomic Force Microscopy

Maguy Dominiczak12, Larissa Otubo1, David Alamarguy2, Frédéric Houzé2*, Sebastian Volz3, Sophie Noël2 and Jinbo Bai1*

Author Affiliations

1 Lab. MSSMat, UMR CNRS 8579, Ecole Centrale Paris, Grande Voie des Vignes, Châtenay-Malabry 92290, France

2 LGEP, UMR CNRS-SUPELEC 8507, Universités Paris Sud XI et UPMC, 11 rue Joliot-Curie, Plateau de Moulon, Gif-sur-Yvette 91192, France

3 Lab. EM2C, UPR CNRS 288, Ecole Centrale Paris, Grande Voie des Vignes, Châtenay-Malabry 92295, France

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:335  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-335

Published: 14 April 2011


Using an atomic force microscope (AFM) at a controlled contact force, we report the electrical signal response of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) disposed on a golden thin film. In this investigation, we highlight first the theoretical calculation of the contact resistance between two types of conductive tips (metal-coated and doped diamond-coated), individual MWCNTs and golden substrate. We also propose a circuit analysis model to schematize the «tip-CNT-substrate» junction by means of a series-parallel resistance network. We estimate the contact resistance R of each contribution of the junction such as Rtip-CNT, RCNT-substrate and Rtip-substrate by using the Sharvin resistance model. Our final objective is thus to deduce the CNT intrinsic radial resistance taking into account the calculated electrical resistance values with the global resistance measured experimentally. An unwished electrochemical phenomenon at the tip apex has also been evidenced by performing measurements at different bias voltages with diamond tips. For negative tip-substrate bias, a systematic degradation in color and contrast of the electrical cartography occurs, consisting of an important and non-reversible increase of the measured resistance. This effect is attributed to the oxidation of some amorphous carbon areas scattered over the diamond layer covering the tip. For a direct polarization, the CNT and substrate surface can in turn be modified by an oxidation mechanism.