Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Walter J. Varhue

Second Advisor

Ting Tan


Ruthenium oxide (RuO2) nanorods are an emergent technology in nanostructure devices. As the physical size of electronics approaches a critical lower limit, alternative solutions to further device miniaturization are currently under investigation. Thin-film nanorod growth is an interesting technology, being investigated for use in wireless communications, sensor systems, and alternative energy applications.

In this investigation, self-assembled RuO2 nanorods are grown on a variety of substrates via a high density plasma, reactive sputtering process. Nanorods have been found to grow on substrates that form native oxide layers when exposed to air, namely silicon, aluminum, and titanium. Samples were analyzed with Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) techniques. Conductive Atomic Force Microscopy (C-AFM) measurements were performed on single nanorods to characterize structure and electrical conductivity. The C-AFM probe tip is placed on a single nanorod and I-V characteristics are measured, potentially exhibiting rectifying capabilities. An analysis of these results using fundamental semiconductor physics principles is presented. Experimental data for silicon substrates was most closely approximated by the Simmons model for direct electron tunneling, whereas that of aluminum substrates was well approximated by Fowler-Nordheim tunneling. The native oxide of titanium is regarded as a semiconductor rather than an insulator and its ability to function as a rectifier is not strong. An electronic model for these nanorods is described herein.



Number of Pages

50 p.