Piscataway, NJ -- If carbon nanotubes are to fulfill their commercial promise in displays, integrated circuits, sensors and other nanoelectronic components, industry must agree on uniform ways to evaluate and report their electrical properties. In a major step toward this goal, the IEEE has approved IEEE 1650, the first standard to establish a common metrics foundation for such properties.
IEEE 1650, "Standard Test Methods for Measurement of Electrical Properties of Carbon Nanotubes," recommends the equipment and procedures needed to measure the low-level signals involved in working with nanotubes. It addresses a variety of basic parameters, including electrical conductivity, Hall effect and other critical electrical properties of nanotubes and basic nanotube devices.
"There's an impressive amount of work underway seeking to use nanotubes to fabricate next-generation devices," says Daniel Gamota, IEEE 1650 Working Group chair. "These efforts have surfaced a strong need for uniform ways to evaluate nanotube electrical performance, so what is observed by one group can be confirmed by others. IEEE 1650 meets this need. The tests it defines help bridge the gap between the laboratory and the production line so researchers can communicate effectively with those creating commercial nanotube applications."
The new standard will provide credibility for carbon nanotubes entering the market, according to Paul Brazis, IEEE 1650 Working Group vice chairman. "Many groups report electronic data for carbon nanotubes, but there is no good way to understand the accuracy, repeatability and consistency of these data," he says. "IEEE 1650 assures these data are reported consistently so end users can depend on information from vendors and so gain confidence in the nanotubes they buy. The standard also will give manufacturers who comply with IEEE 1650 a way to legitimize what they offer."
The IEEE has taken the lead in forming nanoelectronic standards for materials, devices and systems. In addition to IEEE 1650, it is also developing IEEE 1690(TM), "Standard Methods for the Characterization of Carbon Nanotubes Used as Additives in Bulk Materials," which will define test methods for carbon nanotube quality control involving such factors as material purity and composition."
The IEEE 1650 standard, "Standard Test Methods for Measurement of Electrical Properties of Carbon Nanotubes," was sponsored by the IEEE Nanotechnology Council.