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Carbon nanotube guided formation of silicon oxide nanotrenches


The potential applications of carbon nanotubes are varied1,2,3,4,5,6. Although it has long been known that solid carbon can reduce SiO2 to its gaseous state at high temperatures7, exploiting this reaction to pattern surfaces with carbon nanotubes has never been demonstrated. Here we show that carbon nanotubes can act as the carbon source to reduce (etch) silicon dioxide surfaces. By introducing small amounts of oxygen gas during the growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) process, the nanotubes selectively etch one-dimensional nanotrenches in the SiO2. The shape, length and trajectory of the nanotrenches are fully guided by the SWNTs. These nanotrenches can also serve as a mask in the fabrication of sub-10-nm metal nanowires. Combined with alignment techniques, well-ordered nanotrenches can be made for various high-density electronic components in the nanoelectronics industry.

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Figure 1: Tapping mode atomic force microscopy (TM-AFM) images of SiO2/Si substrates containing SWNTs and nanotrenches.
Figure 3: The chemical identities of nanotrenches and shoulders.
Figure 2: SiO2 nanotrench formation guided by carbon nanotubes during an oxygen-assisted CVD reaction.
Figure 4: Metal nanowires and Si nanotrenches fabricated using SiO2 nanotrenches as a mask.

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This work was supported by the Basic Research Program of the KOSEF (R01-2004-000-10210-0), the Nano/Bio Science & Technology Program of MOST (M10536090000-05N3609-00000), the SRC/ERC Program (R11-2000-070-070020), and the Korean Research Foundation (MOEHRD, KRF-2005-005-J13103). The authors thank J. M. Buriak, D. Karpuzov and Shihong Xu for the SEM, SAM and AES experiments. Moon-Ho Jo and Jee-Eun Yang are thanked for Cr metal evaporations, and Joon Won Park and Il Hong Kim for ellipsometer measurements.

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H.C.C. and H.R.B. conceived and designed the experiments. H.R.B. performed experiments. H.C.C. and H.R.B. co-wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Hee Cheul Choi.

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Byon, H., Choi, H. Carbon nanotube guided formation of silicon oxide nanotrenches. Nature Nanotech 2, 162–166 (2007).

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