Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Document Type



Hybrid Electronic Materials (HEMs), as defined for this dissertation, are combinations of organic and inorganic materials as may be used to fabricate active device components in “beyond the transistor” electronics. However, the use of organics is often limited by issues such as thermal stability, compatibility with traditional (semiconductor) materials, and current processing technology. Thus, we began our exploration of HEMs with a “new” class of materials called GUMBOS (Group of Uniform Materials Based on Organic Salts) as derived from ionic liquids. For this first segment of our work, we investigated selected species of GUMBOS and nanoGUMBOS via their current-voltage characteristics, electronic sensing capabilities, and amenability to thin-film formation using the technique of electrospraying. For the next segment, and primarily thin-film portion of this research, we elected to include the now more “traditional” material of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Although reasonably well-characterized, CNTs still offer a significant challenge in terms of thin-film deposition, particularly upon non-conductive substrates. Electrophoretic deposition (EPD) is a solution-based technique that we have previously researched for the deposition of CNT thin-films onto metal and semiconductor substrates. However, EPD is limited by its need for conductive electrodes. We eliminate the latter through an electrospray-assisted form of EPD which accomplishes the two fold task of successfully depositing CNT thin-films onto non-conductive material while increasing the utility of EPD as it applies to HEMs. We also characterized the effect of our electrospray-assisted EPD technique upon CNT film thickness, quality, and morphology. Our investigation concludes with the prototype development of a new method of electrospraying based upon Faraday waves. In conjunction with characterization and thin-film deposition, this prototype demonstrates a means by which to scale HEMs to feasible commercial utilization.



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Committee Chair

Daniels-Race, Theda