semiconducting carbon nanotube transistors: electron and spin transport properties

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2006-04-25

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Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have attracted great interest both scientifically and technologically due to their long mean free paths and high carrier velocities at room temperature, and possibly very long spin-scattering lengths. This thesis will describe experiments to probe the charge-and spin-transport properties of long, clean individual SWNTs prepared by chemical vapor deposition and contacted by metal electrodes.

A SWNT field-effect transistor (SWNT-FET) has been shown to be sensitive to single electrons in charge traps. A single charge trap near a SWNT-FET is explored here using both electronic and scanned-probe techniques, and a simple model is developed to determine the capacitances of the trap to the SWNT and gate electrode.

SWNTs are contacted with ferromagnetic electrodes in order to explore the transport of spin-polarized current through the SWNT. In some cases spin-dependent transport was observed, verifying long spin scattering lengths in SWNT. However, in many cases no spin-dependent effects were observed; these results will be discussed in the context of the present state of results in the literature.

Semiconducting SWNTs (s-SWNTs) with Schottky-barrier contacts are measured at high bias. Nearly symmetric ambipolar transport is observed, with electron and hole currents significantly exceeding 25 µA, the reported current limit in m-SWNTs. Four simple models for the field-dependent velocity (ballistic, current saturation, velocity saturation, and constant mobility) are studied in the unipolar regime; the high-bias behavior is best explained by a velocity saturation model with a saturation velocity of 2 x 10^7 cm/s. A simple Boltzmann equation model for charge transport in s-SWNTs is developed with two adjustable parameters, the elastic and inelastic scattering lengths. The model predicts velocity saturation rather than current saturation in s-SWNTs, in agreement with experiment.

Contact effects in s-SWNT-FET are explored by electrically heating the devices. These experiments resolve the origin of nanotube p-type behavior in air by showing that the observed p-type behavior upon air exposure cannot be explained by change in contact work function, but is instead due to doping of the nanotube. Modest doping of the SWNT narrows the Schottky Barriers and provides a high-conductance Ohmic tunnel contact from electrode to SWNT.

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