Nano Research

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 321–332 | Cite as

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

  • Aravind Vijayaraghavan
  • Sabine Blatt
  • Christoph Marquardt
  • Simone Dehm
  • Raghav Wahi
  • Frank Hennrich
  • Ralph Krupke
Open Access
Research Article


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 fill a void in electronic characterization of molecular device architectures.


Carbon nanotubes electronic properties voltage-contrast scanning electron microscopy electrostatics 

Supplementary material

12274_2008_8034_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
Supplementary material, approximately 1.28 MB. (14.8 mb)
Supplementary material, approximately 14.7 MB.


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aravind Vijayaraghavan
    • 1
  • Sabine Blatt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christoph Marquardt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Simone Dehm
    • 1
  • Raghav Wahi
    • 1
  • Frank Hennrich
    • 1
  • Ralph Krupke
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Nanotechnologie, Forschungszentrum KarlsruheEggenstein-LeopoldshafenGermany
  2. 2.Physikalisches InstitutUniversität KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany

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