Fabrication, structure, and electron emission of single carbon nanotubes Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Zhao, Gongpu
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Carbon nanotubes possess many excellent field emission properties. An obstacle to these applications is that there is no simple and reproducible method to prepare a single carbon nanotube field emitter. In this dissertation, individual carbon nanotube field emitters have been fabricated in a two-step process involving (a) producing micron-size carbon fibers which contain single carbon nanotubes at their cores and (b) exposing the nanotubes by fracturing the fiber with mechanical forces and mounting the fiber to a copper ribbon with a groove. This fabrication method has the potential to be the production method for single carbon nanotube field emission point electron sources. The cold field emission properties of single carbon nanotubes have been studied. These carbon nanotubes exhibit large field enhancement factors of 1.1×107 m-1 and low turn-on fields of 1.1 V/?m. An empirical model has been developed to calculate the field enhancement factor of an open end nanotube attached on a carbon fiber. The lifetime measurements show that a single carbon nanotube can continuously emit electrons over 100 hours without significant current drops. The emission stability measurements show that the maximum current drift is 3.6%. It is also shown experimentally that a carbon nanotube has a high reduced brightness 2.9×108 ASr-1m-2V-1, which is two orders of magnitude higher than those of the thermionic electron sources. The thermal field emission properties of a single carbon nanotube have been systemically studied. It is found that there is a gap between the intermediate region and the field emission region which is not covered by either the Fowler-Nordheim theory or the Murphy-Good theory. We have developed an analytical equation that describes the thermal field emission behavior of a single carbon nanotube within the gap. The experimental results agree well with the theoretical predictions. We also studied the effect of Cs doping on the field emission properties and electronic properties of a single nanotube. We found that the work function of the carbon nanotube was reduced from 4.8 eV to 3.7 eV by Cs doping.
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  • Qin, Lu-Chang
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