Graduation Year

2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.E.E.

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Schlaf, Rudy

Keywords

precursor, lithography, patterning, thermal process, sputtering, catalyst

Abstract

The goals of this research project were the design and construction of a carbon nanotube (CNT) reactor based on the plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) principle and the development of a method for directed assembly of CNTs by catalyst patterning. PECVD was selected as the growth method due to the requirement of a catalyst for the growth process, thereby facilitating directed assembly and controlled diameter CNT growth at well-defined locations. The reactor was built in accord with horizontal flow design using standard ultra high vacuum components. The controllable parameters of the reactor include sample temperature, DC plasma intensity, chamber pressure, gas flow ratios, and total gas flow. The most favorable parameters for growing CNTs of well defined length, diameter, and separation were obtained by initially using parameter values obtained from literature, then optimized by changing a parameter and noting the effect on CNT growth.

Catalyst patterns for the directed assembly of CNTs were prepared by electron-beam lithography (EBL). Experiments were performed that demonstrated the feasibility of using lithographic methods to achieve directed assembly of carbon nanotubes for the manufacture of CNT devices. Experiments focusing on growth interruption and regrowth of CNTs were conducted to investigate methods of introducing tailored branching points into carbon nanotubes during the growth process. These experiments clearly demonstrate that growth interruption increases the occurrence of CNT branching. An analysis of the relationships between CNT diameter, branching points, and the number of growth steps was conducted.

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