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Nanoscale Electronic Devices on Carbon Nanotubes

P.G. Collins*, A. Zettl

University of California, Berkeley

This is an abstract for a talk to be given at the Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology. The full paper is available here.

Carbon nanotubes constitute a fascinating new class of materials with potential as nanoscale building blocks for mechanical, chemical, and electronic applications. Electronically, the nanotubes are expected to behave as ideal one-dimensional "quantum wires" with either semiconducting or metallic behaviors, depending on geometrical tube parameters. The joining of dissimilar tubes can result in nonlinear junction devices formed from only a handful of carbon atoms.

We have used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to explore the local electrical characteristics of single-walled carbon nanotubes. By moving the STM tip along the length of the nanotubes, we find well-defined positions where the transport current changes abruptly from a graphitic response to one that is highly nonlinear and asymmetrical, including near-perfect rectification.

The observations are consistent with the existence of localized, on-tube nanodevices as theoretically predicted for point defects on carbon nanotubes. The controlled production of such devices on the otherwise conducting tubes could allow complex circuits to be fabricated on size scales wholly inaccessible by current lithographic methods.

*Corresponding Address:
Phillip G. Collins, 366 Le Conte Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, ph: (510) 643-9640, fax: (510) 643-8793,
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