Energy Carrier Transport In Surface-Modified Carbon Nanotubes



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Carbon nanotubes are made into films or bulks, their surface or junction morphology in the networks can be modified to obtain desired electrical transport properties by various surface modification methods. The methods include incorporation of organic molecules or inorganic nanoparticles, debundling of nanotubes by dispersing agents, and microwave irradiation. Because carbon nanotubes have unique carrier transport characteristics along a sheet of graphite in a cylindrical shape, the properties can be dramatically changed by the modification. This is ideal for developing high-performance materials for thermoelectric and photovoltaic energy conversion applications. In this research, decoration of various organic/inorganic nanomaterials on carbon nanotubes was employed to enhance their electrical conductivity, to improve thermoelectric power factor by modulating their electrical conductance and thermopower, or to obtain n-type converted carbon nanotube. The electrical conductivity of double-wall nanotubes (DWNTs) decorated with tetrafluoro-tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4TCNQ) was increased up to 5.9 ? 10^5 S/m. The sheet resistances were measured to be 42 ?/sq at 75% of transmittance for HNO3/SOCl2-treated DWNT films, making their electrical conductivities 200~300% better than those of the pristine DWNT films. A series of experiments at different ion concentrations and reaction time periods were systematically performed in order to find optimum nanomaterial formation conditions and corresponding electronic transport changes for better thermoelectric power factor. For example, the thermoelectric power factors were improved by ~180% with F4TCNQ on DWNTs, ~200% with Cu on SWNTs, and ~140% with Fe on single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs). Also SWNTs was converted from p-type to n-type with a large thermopower (58 ?V/K) by using polyethyleneimine (PEI) without vacuum or controlled environment. This transport behavior is believed to be from charge interactions resulted from the difference between the work functions/reduction potentials of nanotubes and nanomaterials. In addition, different dispersing agents were utilized with DWNT and SWNTs to see a debundling effect in a film network. The highest electrical conductivity of ~1.72?10^6 S/m was obtained from DWNT film which was fabricated with a nanotube solution dispersed by chlorosulfonic acid. Debundling of nanotubes in the film network has been demonstrated to be a critical parameter in order to get such high electrical property. In the last experiment, Au nanoparticle decoration on carbon nanotube bundle was performed and a measurement of themophysical properties has done before and after modifying carbon nanotube surface. Carbon nanotube bundle, herein, was bridged on microdevice to enable the measurement work. This study demonstrates a first step toward a breakthrough in order to extract the potential of carbon nanotubes regarding electron transport properties.