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High-yield synthesis of carbon coils on tungsten substrates and their behavior in the presence of an electric field

  • Jun Jiao (a1), Erik Einarsson (a1), David W. Tuggle (a1), Logan Love (a1), Josie Prado (a2) and George M. Coia (a3)...


We report an effective procedure for fabricating carbon microcoils and nanocoils with three-dimensional spiral structures in high yield by nickel (Ni)-catalyzed thermal decomposition of acetylene. The Ni catalyst particles used in this preparation were electrochemically deposited onto tungsten substrates. Springlike coils having low pitch and micrometer-scale diameters and ropelike coils having higher pitch and nanometer-scale diameters were observed. Electrical and optical properties were investigated by employing a field-emission probe system equipped with an optical spectrometer. In an applied field above 1.5 V/μm, significant electron emission was observed from individual ropelike nanocoils. The approximately linear slope of the corresponding Fowler-Nordheim plot denotes predominately field-emission behavior. During measurement, individual carbon coils aligned themselves along the electric field, exhibiting a natural resonance on some occasions. As the field strength increased above 2.5 V/μm, the emission-current density for a single nanocoil was measured to be on the order of 104 A/cm2. This high-current density caused Joule heating, resulting in strong photon emission by incandescence.



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