Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Micro and Nanoscale Systems

First Advisor

Tabbetha A. Dobbins


This research looks at ways to utilize already synthesized carbon nanotubes (CNT) to manufacture electrical connections using current tools and fabrication methods employed in the semiconductor industry. Purchased single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) are separated and placed in suspension using poly(sodium styrene sulfonate) (PSS). The PSS non-covalently bonds to the SWNTs, causing them to repel each other due to the negative charge of the PSS. The suspension of SWNTs is spin coated over a processed silicon (Si) wafer with fabricated trenches. A Si wafer with a top silicon dioxide (SiO 2) layer is spin coated with Shipley 1827 photoresist. UV light is used to expose areas to the photoresist, creating trench areas. After removal of the exposed areas of the photoresist, trenches are etched into the SiO 2 layer with a buffered oxide etch (BOE) solution of hydrofluoric acid. The suspension of SWNTs is spin coated over the processed Si wafer. The wafer is placed on a hot plate at 115° C to slowly evaporate the water from the SWNT suspension. As the water evaporates, the SWNTs remain on the surface of the Si wafer or gather in the trenches. Finally, the photoresist is removed, lifting off all of the SWNTs that are not in the trenches. Several trenches have a sufficient fill rate to allow IV characteristics to be performed. A Keithley probe station is used to measure the resistance of the SWNT composite material in the trench. These results, 47.3 kΩ, are similar to other fabricated SWNT/polyelectrolyte thin films, showing that the method presented can be used to simplify the process of fabricating SWNT composite wires. Raman spectroscopy is also used to determine if the SWNTs in the SWNT composite structure are aligned in any direction. There is no preferential orientation of the SWNTs in the structure, rather the SWNTs appeared to be randomly oriented in all directions.