Nanotech 2010

Local electrostatic field enhancement for field emission from the carbon nanotube based nanotips formed by plasma etching

K.S. Hazra, N. Kulshresta, S. Roy, R. Bajpai, D.S. Misra
IIT Bombay, IN

Keywords: carbon nanotube, field emission, finite element analysis, local electrostatic field, plasma treatment


Controlled sharpening of selectively grown carbon nanotube pillars is demonstrated by Hydrogen/ Nitrogen plasma treatment technique. The measurements of field emission properties exhibit that the emitter tip size controls the saturation of emission current. The plasma sharpened tips of nanotubes contain only a few tubes at the apex of the structure and leads to the enhancement in the field with the onset field as low as 0.16 V/µm. We find that the plasma treatment can be controlled with excellent precision so as to generate the tips of truly nanometer sizes for a treatment time of 30-35 s. We also observe that the surface of the plasma treated tubes contain a large concentration of defects which contribute to the enhancement in the emission current density. Finite element analysis shows that the electric field concentrates from the edge of the pillars towards the center region during the nanotip formation by plasma etching. Simulation results show at least 3 fold enhancement of electric field at the tip responsible for the enhancement in field emission properties for the CNT nanotip pillars.
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