Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) have found many uses in electronics and new touch screen devices. Carbon nanotubes are sheets of one atom-thick layer of graphene rolled up seamlessly into different sizes and shapes. To be able to use them in commercial products like transparent transistors for phone screens, researchers need to be able to easily test nanotubes for their materials properties, and the new method helps with this.
Professor Esko I. Kauppinen’s group at Aalto has years of experience in making carbon nanotubes for electronic applications. The team’s unique method uses aerosols of metal catalysts and gasses containing carbon. This aerosol-based method allows the researchers to carefully control the nanotube structure directly.
Fabricating single carbon nanotube transistors is usually tedious. It often takes days from raw carbon nanotube material to transistors, and the devices were contaminated with processing chemicals, degrading their performance. However the new method makes it possible to fabricate hundreds of individual carbon nanotube devices within 3 hours, an over ten times increase in efficiency.
Most importantly, these fabricated devices do not contain degrading processing chemicals on their surface. These so-called ultra-clean devices have been previously even more difficult to manufacture than regular single carbon nanotube transistors.
Source: “New way to know an old friend: New method reveals clean carbon nanotube transistors with superb properties”, Esko Kauppinen, Nan Wei, Aalto University