Nano Research

Article Title

Nanotubes in a gradient electric field as revealed by STM TEM technique


Carbon nanotubes, boron nitride nanotubes, transmission electron microscope, scanning tunneling microscope


We have investigated the behavior of two nanotube systems, carbon and boron nitride, under controlled applied voltages in a high-resolution transmission electron microscope (TEM) equipped with a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) unit. Individual nanotubes (or thin bundles) were positioned between a piezomovable gold electrode and a biased (up to ±140 V) STM tip inside the pole-piece of the microscope. The structures studied include double- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (the latter having diverse morphologies due to the various synthetic procedures utilized), few-layered boron nitride nanotube bundles and multi-walled boron nitride nanotubes (with or without functionalized surfaces). The electrical breakdown, physical failure, and electrostatic interactions are documented for each system.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press