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Nature. 2003 Aug 7;424(6949):654-7.

Ballistic carbon nanotube field-effect transistors.

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Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, California 94305, USA.


A common feature of the single-walled carbon-nanotube field-effect transistors fabricated to date has been the presence of a Schottky barrier at the nanotube--metal junctions. These energy barriers severely limit transistor conductance in the 'ON' state, and reduce the current delivery capability--a key determinant of device performance. Here we show that contacting semiconducting single-walled nanotubes by palladium, a noble metal with high work function and good wetting interactions with nanotubes, greatly reduces or eliminates the barriers for transport through the valence band of nanotubes. In situ modification of the electrode work function by hydrogen is carried out to shed light on the nature of the contacts. With Pd contacts, the 'ON' states of semiconducting nanotubes can behave like ohmically contacted ballistic metallic tubes, exhibiting room-temperature conductance near the ballistic transport limit of 4e(2)/h (refs 4-6), high current-carrying capability (approximately 25 micro A per tube), and Fabry-Perot interferences at low temperatures. Under high voltage operation, the current saturation appears to be set by backscattering of the charge carriers by optical phonons. High-performance ballistic nanotube field-effect transistors with zero or slightly negative Schottky barriers are thus realized.

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