Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes Based Cryogenic Temperature Sensor Platforms

Sensors (Basel). 2017 Sep 10;17(9):2071. doi: 10.3390/s17092071.


We present an investigation consisting of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) based cryogenic temperature sensors, capable of measuring temperatures in the range of 2-77 K. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) due to their extremely small size, superior thermal and electrical properties have suggested that it is possible to create devices that will meet necessary requirements for miniaturization and better performance, by comparison to temperature sensors currently available on the market. Starting from SWCNTs, as starting material, a resistive structure was designed. Employing dropcast method, the carbon nanotubes were deposited over pairs of gold electrodes and in between the structure electrodes from a solution. The procedure was followed by an alignment process between the electrodes using a dielectrophoretic method. Two sensor structures were tested in cryogenic field down to 2 K, and the resistance was measured using a standard four-point method. The measurement results suggest that, at temperatures below 20 K, the temperature coefficient of resistance average for sensor 1 is 1.473%/K and for sensor 2 is 0.365%/K. From the experimental data, it can be concluded that the dependence of electrical resistance versus temperature can be approximated by an exponential equation and, correspondingly, a set of coefficients are calculated. It is further concluded that the proposed approach described here offers several advantages, which can be employed in the fabrication of a microsensors for cryogenic applications.

Keywords: cryogenic microsensor; electrophoretic alignment; nanoscience; single wall carbon nanotubes; very low temperature measurement.