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Controlling SWCNT assembling density by electrokinetics

: Yu, H.; Hermann, S.; Dong, Z.; Mai, J.; Li, W.J.; Schulz, S.E.


Sensors and Actuators. A 201 (2013), pp.36-42
ISSN: 0924-4247
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as the colloid in a colloidal solution can be polarized in a non-uniform electric field and experience a net force that is the so-called dielectrophoresis (DEP) force, due to the interaction between the induced dipoles and the electric field. The positive DEP force can be used to position and assemble arrays of SWCNTs. Inversely, the negative DEP force can be utilized to separate SWCNTs in terms of their electronic properties. Moreover, Joule heating generated by the electric field can lead to other electrokinetics forces in the colloidal solution, which give rise to fluidic motion of the solution. Additionally, at low frequencies, the electrical double layer also induces a steady fluidic motion, a phenomenon known as AC electroosmotic flow. These fluidic motion in turn exerts a drag force on the nanotubes. Hence, to controllably assemble SWCNTs using DEP force is a non-trivial task. In this article, the mechanisms of electrokinetics and electrohydrodynamics are systematically analyzed through numerical simulations for a set of parameters that are typically used for assembling SWCNTs between metal electrodes. Finally, experimental results from the frequency-dependent assembly of SWCNTs using this set of parameters are described and discussed. These results show that the density of SWCNTs assembled between electrodes can be varied by controlling the electrokinetics parameters.