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Open Access Nano Express

Improved field emission performance of carbon nanotube by introducing copper metallic particles

Yiren Chen12, Hong Jiang1, Dabing Li1, Hang Song1*, Zhiming Li1, Xiaojuan Sun12, Guoqing Miao1 and Haifeng Zhao1

Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Excited State Processes, Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 3888 Dongnanhu Road, Changchun, 130033, People's Republic of China

2 Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, People's Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:537  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-537

Published: 3 October 2011

Abstract

To improve the field emission performance of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), a simple and low-cost method was adopted in this article. We introduced copper particles for decorating the CNTs so as to form copper particle-CNT composites. The composites were fabricated by electrophoretic deposition technique which produced copper metallic particles localized on the outer wall of CNTs and deposited them onto indium tin oxide (ITO) electrode. The results showed that the conductivity increased from 10-5 to 4 × 10-5 S while the turn-on field was reduced from 3.4 to 2.2 V/μm. Moreover, the field emission current tended to be undiminished after continuous emission for 24 h. The reasons were summarized that introducing copper metallic particles to decorate CNTs could increase the surface roughness of the CNTs which was beneficial to field emission, restrain field emission current from saturating when the applied electric field was above the critical field. In addition, it could also improve the electrical contact by increasing the contact area between CNT and ITO electrode that was beneficial to the electron transport and avoided instable electron emission caused by thermal injury of CNTs.