Nano Research

Article Title

Comparative study of gel-based separated arcdischarge, HiPCO, and CoMoCAT carbon nanotubes for macroelectronic applications


separated carbon nanotubes, thin-film transistors, gel-based column chromatography, purity of semiconducting nanotubes, diameter-dependence


Due to their excellent electrical properties and compatibility with room-temperature deposition/printing processing, high-purity single-walled semiconducting carbon nanotubes hold great potential for macroelectronic applications such as in thin-film transistors and display back-panel electronics. However, the relative advantages and disadvantages of various nanotubes for macroelectronics remains an open issue, despite the great significance. Here in this paper, we report a comparative and systematic study of three kinds of mainstream carbon nanotubes (arc-discharge, HiPCO, CoMoCAT) separated using low-cost gel-based column chromatography for thin-film transistor applications, and high performance transistors—which satisfy the requirements for transistors used in active matrix organic light-emitting diode displays—have been achieved. We observe a trade-off between transistor mobility and on/off ratio depending on the nanotube diameter. While arc-discharge nanotubes with larger diameters lead to high device mobility, HiPCO and CoMoCAT nanotubes with smaller diameters can provide high on/off ratios (> 106) for transistors with comparable dimensions. Furthermore, we have also compared gel-based separated nanotubes with nanotubes separated using the density gradient ultracentrifuge (DGU) method, and find that gel-separated nanotubes can offer purity and thin-film transistor performance as good as DGU-separated nanotubes. Our approach can serve as the critical foundation for future carbon nanotube-based thin-film macroelectronics.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press