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Open Access Nano Express

Improved field emission stability from single-walled carbon nanotubes chemically attached to silicon

Cameron J Shearer12*, Adam Fahy3, Matthew Barr3, Paul C Dastoor3 and Joseph G Shapter2

Author Affiliations

1 Institut für Physikalische Chemie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Münster 48149, Germany

2 Flinders Centre for Nanoscale Science and Technology, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Flinders University, Bedford Park, Adelaide 5042, Australia

3 Centre for Organic Electronics, School of Physics, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Newcastle, 2308, Australia

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:432  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-432

Published: 1 August 2012

Abstract

Here, we demonstrate the simple fabrication of a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) field emission electrode which shows excellent field emission characteristics and remarkable field emission stability without requiring posttreatment. Chemically functionalized SWCNTs were chemically attached to a silicon substrate. The chemical attachment led to vertical alignment of SWCNTs on the surface. Field emission sweeps and Fowler-Nordheim plots showed that the Si-SWCNT electrodes field emit with a low turn-on electric field of 1.5 V μm−1 and high electric field enhancement factor of 3,965. The Si-SWCNT electrodes were shown to maintain a current density of >740 μA cm−2 for 15 h with negligible change in applied voltage. The results indicate that adhesion strength between the SWCNTs and substrate is a much greater factor in field emission stability than previously reported.

Keywords:
Single-walled carbon nanotubes; Chemical attachment; Field emission; Field emission stability; Nanoelectronics