Nano Research

Article Title

Imaging electronic structure of carbon nanotubes by voltage-contrast scanning electron microscopy


Carbon nanotubes, electronic properties, voltage-contrast scanning electron microscopy, electrostatics


We introduce voltage-contrast scanning electron microscopy (VC-SEM) for visual characterization of the electronic properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes. VC-SEM involves tuning the electronic band structure and imaging the potential profi le along the length of the nanotube. The resultant secondary electron contrast allows to distinguish between metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotubes and to follow the switching of semiconducting nanotube devices, as confi rmed by in situ electrical transport measurements. We demonstrate that high-density arrays of individual nanotube devices can be rapidly and simultaneously characterized. A leakage current model in combination with fi nite element simulations of the device electrostatics is presented in order to explain the observed contrast evolution of the nanotube and surface electrodes. This work serves to fi ll a void in electronic characterization of molecular device architectures.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press