Hetero-junctions of boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are expected to have appealing new properties that are not available from pure BNNTs and CNTs. Theoretical studies indicate that BNNT/CNT junctions could be multifunctional and applicable as memory, spintronic, electronic, and photonics devices with tunable band structures. This will lead to energy and material efficient multifunctional devices that will be beneficial to the society. However, experimental realization of BNNT/CNT junctions was hindered by the absent of a common growth technique for BNNTs and CNTs. In fact, the synthesis of BNNTs was very challenging and may involve high temperatures (up to 3000 degree Celsius by laser ablation) and explosive chemicals. During the award period, we have successfully developed a simple chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technique to grow BNNTs at 1100-1200 degree Celsius without using dangerous chemicals. A series of common catalyst have then been identified for the synthesis of BNNTs and CNTs. Both of these breakthroughs have led to our preliminary success in growing two types of BNNT/CNT junctions and two additional new nanostructures: 1) branching BNNT/CNT junctions and 2) co-axial BNNT/CNT junctions, 3) quantum dots functionalized BNNTs (QDs-BNNTs), 4) BNNT/graphene junctions. We have started to understand their structural, compositional, and electronic properties. Latest results indicate that the branching BNNT/CNT junctions and QDs-BNNTs are functional as room-temperature tunneling devices. We have submitted the application of a renewal grant to continue the study of these new energy efficient materials. Finally, this project has also strengthened our collaborations with multiple Department of Energy's Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), including the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINTs) at Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Results obtained during the current funding period have led to the publication of twelve peer reviewed articles, three review papers, two book and one encyclopedia chapters, and thirty eight conference/seminar presentation. One US provisional patent and one international patent have also been filed.
Yap, Y. K.
Hetero-junctions of boron nitride and carbon nanotubes: Synthesis and characterization.
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