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Effects of Al interlayer coating and thermal treatment on electron emission characteristics of carbon nanotubes deposited by electrophoretic method

Bu-Jong Kim1, Jong-Pil Kim2 and Jin-Seok Park1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Electronic Systems Engineering, Hanyang University, Ansan, Gyeonggi-do 426-791, Republic of Korea

2 R&D Team, Health & Medical Equipment Business Team, Samsung Electronics, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 443-742, Republic of Korea

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:236  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-236

Published: 13 May 2014


The effects of aluminum (Al) interlayer coating and thermal post-treatment on the electron emission characteristics of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were investigated. These CNTs were deposited on conical-shaped tungsten (W) substrates using an electrophoretic method. The Al interlayers were coated on the W substrates via magnetron sputtering prior to the deposition of CNTs. Compared with the as-deposited CNTs, the thermally treated CNTs revealed significantly improved electron emission characteristics, such as the decrease of turn-on electric fields and the increase of emission currents. The observations of Raman spectra confirmed that the improved emission characteristics of the thermally treated CNTs were ascribed to their enhanced crystal qualities. The coating of Al interlayers played a role in enhancing the long-term emission stabilities of the CNTs. The thermally treated CNTs with Al interlayers sustained stable emission currents without any significant degradation even after continuous operation of 20 h. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) study suggested that the cohesive forces between the CNTs and the underlying substrates were strengthened by the coating of Al interlayers.

Carbon nanotube (CNT); Electrophoretic deposition (EPD); Al interlayer coating; Thermal treatment; Field electron emission; Emission stability