Influence of O-2 and N-2 on the conductivity of carbon nanotube networks

Duncan Mowbray, C. Morgan, Kristian Sommer Thygesen

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We have performed experiments on single-wall carbon nanotube (SWNT) networks and compared with density-functional theory (DFT) calculations to identify the microscopic origin of the observed sensitivity of the network conductivity to physisorbed O-2 and N-2. Previous DFT calculations of the transmission function for isolated pristine SWNTs have found physisorbed molecules have little influence on their conductivity. However, by calculating the four-terminal transmission function of crossed SWNT junctions, we show that physisorbed O-2 and N-2 do affect the junction's conductance. This may be understood as an increase in tunneling probability due to hopping via molecular orbitals. We find the effect is substantially larger for O-2 than for N-2, and for semiconducting rather than metallic SWNTs junctions, in agreement with experiment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review B Condensed Matter
Issue number19
Pages (from-to)195431
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2009 American Physical Society


  • carbon nanotubes
  • electrical conductivity
  • density functional theory
  • electric admittance
  • adsorption
  • tunnelling


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