UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Carbon nanotubes for biomolecular sensing and photovoltaics Mohamamd Ali, Mahmoudzadeh Ahmadi Nejad


A computational investigation of some optoelectronic applications of carbon nanotubes (CNT) is presented, including CNT-based solar cells and biosensors. The results could be used to evaluate the performance of CNT devices and clarify the necessity of further experimental research in this area. A coaxially-gated CNT field-effect transistor (CNFET) forms the basic structure of the devices modeled in this thesis. Diffusive transport is present in long-channel devices, as in our case, while the quantum mechanical effects are mainly present in the form of tunneling from Schottky-barrier contacts at the metal-CNT interfaces. Band-to-band recombination of electron-hole pairs (EHP) is assumed to be the source of electroluminescence. In a first-order approximation, protein-CNT interactions are modeled as the modification of the potential profile along the longitudinal axis of CNTs due to electrostatic coupling between partial charges, in the oxide layer of the CNFET, and the nanotube. The possibility of electronic detection is evaluated. The electroluminescence of the CNT is proposed as an optical detection scheme due to its sensitivity to the magnitude and the polarity of the charge in the oxide. The validity of the model is argued for the given models. A value for the minimum required size of a computational window in a detailed simulation is derived. The structure of an electrostatically gated p-i-n diode is simulated and investigated for photovoltaic purposes. The absorbed power from the incident light and the interaction between the nanotubes is modeled with COMSOL. The results are interpreted as a generation term and introduced to the Drift-Diffusion Equation (DDE). We have observed behavior similar to that in an experimentally-realized device. The performance of CNT-based solar cells under standard AM 1.5 sunlight conditions is evaluated in the form of an individual solar cell and also in an array of such devices.

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