Nonthermal Current-Stimulated Desorption of Gases from Carbon Nanotubes

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Science  10 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5997, pp. 1327-1330
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194210

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The desorption of gases from carbon nanotubes is usually a slow process that limits the nanotubes’ utility as sensors or as memristors. Here, we demonstrate that flow in the nanotube above the Poole-Frenkel conduction threshold can stimulate adsorbates to desorb without heating the sensor substantially. The method is general: alcohols, aromatics, amines, and phosphonates were all found to desorb. We postulate that the process is analogous to electron-stimulated desorption, but with an internally conducted rather than externally applied source of electrons.

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