Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Can universal conductance fluctuations (UCFs) be observed at temperatures above room temperature at nanoscale?

B. W. Mwakikunga^1,2,3, E. Sideras-Haddad^1,4, C. Arendse^2 and A. Forbes^5

^1School of Physics , University of the Witwatersrand, PO Box Wits, Johannesburg , 2050 South Africa
^2CSIR National Centre for Nano-Structured Materials, PO Box 395, Pretoria
^3Department of Physics and Biochemical Sciences, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, P. B. 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 0003, Malawi
^4iThemba Labs Gauteng, Johannesburg, South Africa
^5CSIR National Laser Centre, PO Box 395, Pretoria, South Africa

We report conductance fluctuation in VO2 nano-ribbons of 10 nm thickness at moderate temperatures. Synthesis of these nano-ribbons was reported elsewhere [1-4]. The fluctuations are periodic at room temperature up to the VO2 transition temperature of 70 oC. These are surprising results since dc currents are producing a.c. potential difference values in i-v characteristics of the nano-ribbons of VO2 contrary to those of normal bulk materials. Three main theories were considered in order to explain these findings (1) The LRC equivalent circuit theory (2) the Gunn effect [5] and (3) the Universal Conductance Fluctuations theories [6-15]. The first two theories failed to explain our experimental data. We have explained this anomalous behaviour by the third theory which is a manifestation of the wave nature of electrons. The wave nature of electrons has been demonstrated in many instances including the Nobel–prize–winning Davisson & Germer experiment on electron diffraction. In electronic circuits, quantum interference in metallic wires [6-8], the so-called ‘weak localization’ [9,10] and universal conductance fluctuations (UCF) [11-13] are all manifestations of this wave nature. Fluctuations originate from coherence effects for electronic wave–functions and thus the phase–coherence length, lf needs to be smaller than the momentum relaxation length lm. UCF is more profound when electrical transport is in the weak localization regime lf < lc ="M" g0="2e2/h">

Video Content Length 15:08 Copyright ©2009 Mwakikunga et al


1. B. W. Mwakikunga, A. Forbes, E. Sideras-Haddad, R M Erasmus, G. Katumba, B. Masina, Synthesis of tungsten oxide nanostructures by laser pyrolysis,
Int. J. Nanoparticles 1, 3 (2008).
2. B. W. Mwakikunga, A. Forbes, E. Sideras-Haddad, C. Arendse, Raman spectroscopy of WO3 nanowires and thermochromism study of VO2 belts produced by ultrasonic spray and laser pyrolysis techniques,
Phys. Stat. Solidi (a) 205, 150 (2008).
3. B. W. Mwakikunga, E. Sideras-Haddad, M. Witcomb, C. Arendse, A. Forbes, WO3 nano-spheres into W18O49 one-dimensional nano – structures through thermal annealing,
J. Nanosci. & Nanotechnol 8, 1 (2008).
4. B. W. Mwakikunga, A. Forbes, E. Sideras-Haddad, C. Arendse, Optimization,yield studies and morphology of WO3 nanowires synthesized by laser pyrolysis in C2H2 and O2 ambients – validation of a new growth mechanism,
Nanoscale Res. Lett. 3, 372 (2008).
5. J.B. Gunn, Microwave oscillations of current in III–V semiconductors,
Solid State Commun.1, 88 (1963).
6. M. Okuda, S. Miyaza, Quantum Interference of Electrons in a Field-Controlled Double-Quantum-Wire Interferemeter,
Phys. Rev. B 47, 4103 (1993).
7. Y. Koyama, Y. Takane, Quantum Interference Effect on the Conductance of a Ferromagnetic Wire with a Domain Wall,
J. Phys. Soc. Jpn. 72, 634 (2003).
8. W. Liang, M. Bockrath, D. Bozovic, J. H. Hafner, M. Tinkham, H. Park, Fabry-Perot Interference in a Nanotube Electron Waveguide,
Nature 411, 665 (2001).
9. D. E. Khmelnitskii, Localization and Coherent Scattering of Electrons,
Physica B126, 235 (1984).
10 D. Y. Sharvin, Y. V. Sharvin, Magnetic Flux Quantization in a Cylindrical Film of a Normal Metal,
JETP Lett. 34, 272 (1981).
11. Stone, A. D., Lee, P. A.: Universal Conductance Fluctuations in Metals,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 55, 1622 (1985).
12. Datta, S.: Electronic Transport in Mesoscopic Systems, Cambridge University Press, (1995) ISBN 0521599431, 9780521599436
13. J. P. Holder, A. K. Savchenko, V. I. Fal’ko, B. Jouault, G. Faini, F. Laruelle, E. Bedel, Enhanced Fluctuations of the Tunnel Density of States near Bottoms of Landau Bands Measured by a Local Spectrometer,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 1563 (1999).
14. A. B. Fowler, A. Harstein, R. A. Webb, Conductance in restricted dimensionality accumulation layers”
Phys. Rev. Lett. 48, 196 (1982).
14. Washburn, S.: Fluctuations in the Extrinsic Conductivity of Disordered Metal, IBM J. Res. Develop. 32, 335 (1988).
15.van Oudenaarden, A., Devoret, M. H., ISSN:0018-8646 Visscher, E. H., Nazarov, Y. V., Mooij, J. E.: Conductance Fluctuations in a Metallic Wire Interrupted by a Tunnel Junction,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 3539 (1997).


B. W. Mwakikunga, E. Sideras-Haddad, C. Arendse and A. Forbes, OAtube Nanotechnology 2, 109 (2009). http://www.oatube.org/2009/01/bwmwakikunga.html

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Opto-electronic properties of P3HT-nanotube composites

I. Alexandrou^1, E. Lioudakis^2,3, D. Delaportas^1, C. Z. Zhao^1 and A. Othonos^2

^1Electrical Engineering & Electronics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GJ, UK
^2Research Center of Ultrafast Science, Department of Physics, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 20537, 1678, Nicosia, Cyprus
^3Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, Cyprus Institute, PO Box 22745, CY-1523, Nicosia, Cyprus

Polymer materials are expected to play a major role in the development of low cost opto-electronic devices. A major advantage of polymers is that they can be mixed with other polymers or nanomaterials in solution to form composites with large area internal junctions. By tuning charge exchange and storage in these junctions one can optimise the opto-electronic properties of these composites. One class of polymer-based composites that holds much promise is polymer-nanotube composites. [1–11] However, probing these properties in detail is not trivial. On the one hand, electronic characterisation that relies on the semiconducting response of the composites cannot be used for composites with nanotube concentration above the percolation limit because the composite’s response becomes metallic. On the other hand, at low nanotube concentrations the optical response of the composites is dominated by that of the polymer making optical characterisation ideal for high nanotube concentrations. [12]
In this presentation we show how a combination of electrical and optical characterisations can be used to probe the response of charge at the polymer-nanotube bulk junctions. The samples examined were prepared by mixing P3HT and single wall nanotubes (SWNTs) from dichlorobenzene solutions. Processing and measurements were performed in ambient conditions while the samples were kept at dark between measurements. Current-voltage measurements on composites reveal good dispersion of nanotubes with a percolation threshold of about 0.75%wt. Using capacitance-voltage (C-V) measurements we show that charge trapped or released from the SWNTs can be probed. By varying the measurement frequency we can also assess the time response of the polymer-nanotube junctions.
The optical response of the composites was studied using spectroscopic Ellipsometry and transient photoinduced absorption measurements. With the addition of SWNTs excitonic energy levels within the polymer density of states appear to quench progressively 1 faster and always in the sub 5ps timescale. The absorption spectra also show that the addition of nanotubes influences the packing of polymer chains. By probing the response of the composites at high SWNT concentrations using optical methods and at low concentrations using C-V, our method provides a unified approach for studies of composites.

Video Content Length 10:39 Copyright ©2008 Alexandrou et al


[1] J. Kumar, R. K. Singh, V. Kumar, R. C. Rastogi, and R. Singh,
Diamond. Relat. Mater. 16, 446 (2007).
[2] I. Singh, P. K. Bhatnagar, P. C. Mathur, I. Kaur, L. M. Bharadwaj, and R. Pandey,
Carbon 46, 1141 (2008).
[3] E. Kymakis and G. A. J. Amaratunga, Appl. Phys. Lett. 80, 112 (2002).
[4] E. Kymakis, E. Koudoumas, I. Franghiadakis, and G. A. J. Amaratunga,
J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 39, 1058 (2006).
[5] E. Kymakis, I. Alexandrou, and G. A. J. Amaratunga,
J. Appl. Phys. 93, 1764 (2003).
[6] B. J. Landi, R. P. Raffaelle, S. L. Castro, and S. G. Bailey,
Prog. Photovolt: Res. Appl. 13, 165 (2005).
[7] S. P. Somani, P. R. Somani, and M. Umeno, Diamond. Relat. Mater. 17, 585 (2008).
[8] J. Geng and T. Zeng, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 16827 (2006).
[9] S. B. Lee, T. Katayama, H. Kajii, H. Araki, and K. Yoshino,
Synth. Met. 121, 1591 (2001).
[10] C. D. Canestraro, M. C. Schnitzler, A. J. G. Zarbin, M. G. E. da Luz, and L. S. Roman,
Appl. Surf. Sci. 252, 5575 (2006).
[11] A. Star, Y. Lu, K. Bradley, and G. Gr¨uner, Nano Lett. 4, 1587 (2004).
[12] E. Lioudakis, A. Othonos, and I. Alexandrou,
Nanoscale Res. Lett. 3, 278 (2008).


I. Alexandrou, E. Lioudakis, D. Delaportas, C. Z. Zhao, and A. Othonos, OAtube Nanotechnology 2, 108 (2009). http://www.oatube.org/2009/01/ialexandrou.html