Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Microelectronics-Photonics (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Uchechukwu C. Wejinya

Committee Member

Ken Vickers

Second Committee Member

Kaiming Ye

Abstract

Carbon nanomaterials are, without a doubt, one of man's wonder creations. Though these nanomaterials are a very recent trend, extraordinary electromechanical properties and the light weightiness of these nanomaterials attracted the attention of researchers. Although vast research has been done since the start of the US nanotechnology initiative, much effort was in the area of synthesis and characterization of the nanomaterials. However, most of the traditional macroscopic material's theories fail at the nanoscale level, and since the material properties are dependent on size and structure at nanoscale level, the behavior of the carbon nanomaterials in different environments needs attention. High tensile strength and high tensile modulus with low weight make these nanomaterials ideal for light weighted structures. Thus, many space organizations like NASA are conducting research on these exciting nanomaterials. Hence, dimensional changes of carbon nanofibers in the ambient and subzero temperature ranges was quantified and statistically analyzed. Mechanical properties of the carbon nanofibers both at room temperature and in subzero temperature range was measured using AFM based nanoindentation. Inability to control the orientation of the nanomaterials and lack of material integration to substrate were the primary causes for selecting synthesis over deposition even though the former is a cumbersome process. The challenge of nanomaterials integration to substrates can be mitigated by synthesis of nanocomposites, which are hybrid materials with enhanced electromechanical properties and better substrate integration, and the challenge of orientation can be mitigated by nanopatterning i.e., creating the channels using AFM based picolithography. These methods were demonstrated in this thesis.  

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