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On the growth of carbon nanofibers on glass with a Cr layer by inductively coupled plasma chemical vapor deposition: The effect of Ni film thickness

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5 Author(s)
Wei, H.W. ; Department of Engineering and System Science, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan ; Tung, C.H. ; Sung, M.S. ; Leou, K.C.
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We have studied the effect of the thickness of catalytic Ni film for the growth of vertically aligned carbon nanofibers (VA-CNFs) on glass substrates coated with a conductive underlayer of Cr. Both the pretreatment process through which the catalytic Ni nanoparticles were formed and the growth of well-aligned CNFs were carried out in an inductively coupled plasma chemical vapor deposition (ICP-CVD) system. The VA-CNFs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, as well as field emission measurements. The results of VA-CNF growth shows that as the Ni film thicknesses decrease, not only the length but also the density of the CNFs drop, although the density of catalytic Ni nanoparticles increases. The variation of CNF density with Ni film thicknesses is believed to be a result of the detachment of the CNFs from the substrate, caused by the electrostatic force produced by the plasma sheath electric field, as well as an ion-enhanced chemical etching effect due to atomic/ionic hydrogen, during the ICP-CVD growth. A field emission measurement apparatus based on a metallic probe of spherical anode structure was also constructed in this study. An electrostatic image model was employed to determine the electric field distribution on the cathode surface. Along with the standard F-N field emission model, the dependence of field emission current density on the cathode surface electric field, as well as an effective field enhancement factor, were extracted from the current-voltage measurement results. The threshold electric field (Ethreshold, for a current density of 1 mA/cm2) increases from 9.2 Vm to 13.1 Vm, and then drops to 11.5 Vm for the CNFs with Ni film thicknesses of 20 nm, 30 nm, and 40 nm, respectively. The electrostatic model results also indicate that the 20 nm case has the greatest space-charge effect on the emission current, consistent with the growth results that the 20 nm case has the lowest CNF density. On the other hand, the CNF length of the 40 nm case is longer than that of the 30 nm one, while the densities are nearly the same; as a result, Ethreshold for the 30 nm case is higher.

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Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:102 ,  Issue: 11 )