A comparative study of thermionic emission from vertically grown carbon nanotubes and tungsten cathodes

S. K. Kolekar, S. P. Patole, P. S. Alegaonkar, J. B. Yoo, C. V. Dharmadhikari

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Thermionic emission from vertically grown carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by water-assisted chemical vapor deposition (WA-CVD) is investigated. I-V characteristics of WA-CNT samples exhibit strong Schottky effect leading to field proportionality factor β ∼ 10 4 cm -1 in contrast to β ∼ 200 cm -1 for the bare tungsten substrate. Non-contact atomic force microscopy imaging of CNT samples show propensity of nanoasperities over a scale of micron size over which the tungsten surface is seen to be atomically smooth. The values of root mean-square roughness for CNTs and W were found to be 24.2 nm and 0.44 nm respectively. The Richardson-Dushman plots yield work function values of Φ CNT ≃ 4.5 and Φ W ≃ 4.3 eV. Current versus time data shows that CNT cathodes are fifteen times noisier than tungsten cathode presumably due to increased importance of individual atomic events on the sharp CNT tips of bristle like structures. Power spectral density of current exhibited 1/f ξ behavior with ξ ≃ 1.5, and 2 for W and CNTs. The former suggests surface diffusion whereas the latter indicates adsorption/desorption of atomic/molecular species as a dominant mechanism of noise generation.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)10306-10310
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Surface Science
Volume257
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2011

Keywords

  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Cathode materials
  • Thermionic emission

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