CARBON NANOTUBE THIN FILM AS AN ELECTRONIC MATERIAL
Sangwan, Vinod Kumar
Williams, Ellen D
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Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are potential candidates for next-generation nanoelectronics devices. An individual CNT possesses excellent electrical properties, but it has been extremely challenging to integrate them on a large-scale. Alternatively, CNT thin films have shown great potential as electronic materials in low cost, large area transparent and flexible electronics. The primary focus of this dissertation is patterning, assembling, characterization and assessment of CNT thin films as electronic material. Since a CNT thin film contains both metallic and semiconducting CNTs, it can be used as an active layer as well as an electrode material by controlling the growth density and device geometry. The growth density is controlled by chemical vapor deposition and airbrushing methods. The device geometry is controlled by employing a transfer printing method to assemble CNT thin film transistors (TFT) on plastic substrates. Electrical transport properties of CNT TFTs are characterized by their conductance, transconductance and on/off ratio. Optimized device performance of CNT TFTs is realized by controlling percolation effects in a random network. Transport properties of CNTs are affected by the local environment. To study the intrinsic properties of CNTs, the environmental effects, such as those due to contact with the dielectric layer and processing chemicals, need to be eliminated. A facile fabrication method is used to mass produce as-grown suspended CNTs to study the transport properties of CNTs with minimal effects from the local environment. Transport and low-frequency noise measurements are conducted to probe the intrinsic properties of CNTs. Lastly, the unique contrast mechanism of the photoelectron emission microscopy (PEEM) is used to characterize the electric field effects in a CNT field effect transistor (FET). The voltage contrast mechanism in PEEM is first characterized by comparing measurements with simulations of a model system. Then the voltage contrast is used to probe the local field effects on a single CNT and a CNT thin film. This real-time imaging method is assessed for potential applications in testing of micron sized devices integrated in large scale.