Enhancement of field emission properties of cyanoacrylate-carbon nanotube arrays by laser treatment

  • Liu Y
  • Fan S
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Abstract

Cyanoacrylate–carbon nanotube arrays are prepared by embedding carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays grown on silicon substrate in cyanoacrylate adhesive. Upon laser treatment, enhanced field emission properties are obtained. Moreover, the binding force between the carbon nanotubes and the substrate is strengthened by the cyanoacrylate adhesive. When the field emission current is large enough at high electric field, the carbon nanotubes cannot be pulled out of the substrate by electric field force. A large field emission current can be obtained from cyanoacrylate–carbon nanotube arrays at relatively low voltage just by decreasing the distance between the anode and the cathode. The field emission properties of aligned carbon nan-otube (CNT) arrays have attracted much attention recently due to the high field emission current density at low electric field, stable currents, and potential applications in cold cathode flat panel displays, electron guns, and nanodevices [1–5]. To en-hance the field emission properties of CNT arrays, some effec-tive methods are used, such as deposing alkali metal to reduce the work function, plasma treatment, and controlling the den-sities of carbon nanotubes to decrease the electrostatic screen effect [6–10]. Generally speaking, a large field emission cur-rent can be achieved by decreasing the distance between the anode and the cathode, which helps to increase the local electric field at the carbon nanotube tips at the same applied voltage. However, the carbon nanotubes may be pulled out of the sub-strate at high electric field, which will then result in the short circuit between the anode and the cathode. This is one of the reasons for the failure of carbon nanotube field emitters. Ex-perimental and theoretical studies have shown the existence of an electric field force on the carbon nanotubes during field emission [11–13]. If the electric field force is larger than the binding force between the carbon nanotubes and the substrate, the emitters of CNT arrays will be destroyed. Therefore the binding force here must be enhanced if large field emission currents are wanted. In this paper, cyanoacrylate adhesive is infiltrated into the carbon nanotube arrays to fix the carbon nanotubes on the substrate. A later laser treatment can expose the carbon nanotubes to the vacuum directly. Comparisons of field emission properties are made among CNT arrays and cyanoacrylate–carbon nanotube arrays before and after laser treatment; in the latter case, enhanced field emission proper-ties are achieved. Large field emission currents at low voltage can also be obtained by decreasing the anode–cathode distance. Aligned CNT arrays were synthesized by chemical vapour deposition of ethylene and argon gases in the presence of iron catalysts on the substrate of porous silicon as described previously [1]. The substrates were patterned with Fe film to about 5 nm by electron beam evaporation through shadow masks. The process of synthesis was carried out at 700 • C in

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Authors

  • Yuming Liu

  • ShouShan Fan

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