Carbon nanotube thin film field emitting diode: understanding the system response based on multiphysics modeling

Sinha, N., Mahapatra, D.R., Yeow, J.T.W., Melnik, R.V.N. and Jaffray, D.A.

Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience, 4, 1--15, 2007


In this paper, we model the evolution and self-assembly of randomly oriented carbon nanotubes (CNTs), grown on a metallic substrate in the form of a thin film for field emission under diode configuration. Despite high output, the current in such a thin film device often decays drastically. The present paper is focused on understanding this problem. A systematic, multiphysics based modelling approach is proposed. First, a nucleation coupled model for degradation of the CNT thin film is derived, where the CNTs are assumed to decay by fragmentation and formation of clusters. The random orientation of the CNTs and the electromechanical interaction are then modeled to explain the self-assembly. The degraded state of the CNTs and the electromechanical force are employed to update the orientation of the CNTs. Field emission current at the device scale is finally obtained by using the Fowler-Nordheim equation and integration over the computational cell surfaces on the anode side. The simulated results are in close agreement with the experimental results. Based on the developed model, numerical simulations aimed at understanding the effects of various geometric parameters and their statistical features on the device current history are reported.