Suspended and highly aligned carbon nanotube thin-film structures using open microfluidic channel template

Dongjin Lee, Zhijiang Ye, Stephen A. Campbell, Tianhong Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We demonstrate microfabrication and characterization of suspended carbon nanotube (CNT) thin-film structures possessing a high degree of alignment. The alignment of CNT was achieved by the open microfluidic channel template and enhanced by heating the CNT dispersion, which was scalable and processable. The degree of alignment, as characterized by Raman spectroscopy, yielded a high G- to D-band intensity ratio of 22 along the fluid flow direction. The microfluidic alignment scheme was combined with microfabrication techniques for the fabrication of suspended thin-film structures. The sidewall of CNT film pattern, left in fluidic channel removal process, was successfully removed by oxygen plasma etching with a masking layer of photoresist, as shown by scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The resistivity of the aligned CNT film was found to be 2.2 × 10-3 Ω cm, smaller than that of films aligned by other techniques. The aligned CNT film was released by etching a sacrificial layer. Mechanical characterization showed a nominal Young's modulus of 635 GPa and yield strength of 2.4 GPa on the assumption of a fixed-fixed Euler beam. The reliable, scalable and processable fabrication process, the resulting high conductivity and excellent mechanical properties may enable aligned CNT films to be a potent candidate for electromechanical device applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-441
Number of pages8
JournalSensors and Actuators, A: Physical
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the DARPA NEMS Program . We acknowledge the Nanofabrication Center, University of Minnesota, which is supported by NSF through NNIN program. Parts of this work were carried out in the College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which was partially supported by NSF.


  • Alignment
  • Carbon nanotube
  • Microfluidics
  • NEMS switch
  • Suspended CNT thin film


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