Structure, transport and field-emission properties of compound nanotubes: CNx vs. BNCx (x<0.1)
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Transport and field-emission properties of as-synthesized CNx and BNCx (x<0.1) multi-walled nanotubes were compared in detail. Individual ropes made of these nanotubes and macrofilms of those were tested. Before measurements, the nanotubes were thoroughly characterized using high-resolution and energy-filtered electron microscopy, electron diffraction and electron-energy-loss spectroscopy. Individual ropes composed of dozens of CNx nanotubes displayed well-defined metallic behavior and low resistivities of ∼10–100 kΩ or less at room temperature, whereas those made of BNCx nanotubes exhibited semiconducting properties and high resistivities of ∼50–300 MΩ. Both types of ropes revealed good field-emission properties with emitting currents per rope reaching ∼4 μA(CNx) and ∼2 μA (BNCx), albeit the latter ropes se- verely deteriorated during the field emission. Macrofilms made of randomly oriented CNx or BNCx nanotubes displayed low and similar turn-on fields of ∼2–3 V/μm. 3 mA/cm2 (BNCx) and 5.5 mA/cm2 (CNx) current densities were reached at 5.5 V/μm macroscopic fields. At a current density of 0.2–0.4 mA/cm2 both types of compound nanotubes exhibited equally good emission stability over tens of minutes; by contrast, on increasing the current density to 0.2–0.4 A/cm2, only CNx films continued to emit steadily, while the field emission from BNCx nanotube films was prone to fast degradation within several tens of seconds, likely due to arcing and/or resistive heating.
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