Parameters and mechanisms governing image contrast in scanning electron microscopy of single-walled carbon nanotubes

TitleParameters and mechanisms governing image contrast in scanning electron microscopy of single-walled carbon nanotubes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsWong, W. K., A. Nojeh, and R. F. W. Pease
JournalScanning
Volume28
Pagination219-227
Date PublishedJUL-AUG
Type of ArticleArticle
ISSN0161-0457
Keywordscarbon nanotubes, electron beam-induced conductivity, electron beam-specimen interaction, scanning electron microscopy, secondary electron emission, voltage contrast
Abstract

Image formation of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) is peculiarly sensitive to primary electron landing energy, imaging history, sample/substrate geometry, electrical conductivity, sample contamination, and substrate charging. This sensitivity is probably due to the extremely small interaction volume of the SWNTs' monolayered, nanoscale structures with the electron beam. Traditional electron beam/bulk specimen interaction models appear unable to explain the contrast behavior when directly applied to SWNTs. We present one systematic case study of SWNT SEM imaging with special attention to the above parameters and propose some physical explanations for the effect of each. We also demonstrate that it is possible to employ voltage biasing to counteract this extrinsic behavior, gain better control of the image contrast, and facilitate the interpretation of SWNT images in the SEM.

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