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The electrical properties of carbon nanofibers (CNFs) can be affected by adsorbed gas species. In this study, we compare the resistance values of CNF devices in a horizontal configuration in air and under vacuum. CNFs in air are observed to possess lower current capacities compared to those in vacuum. Further, Joule heating due to current stressing can result in desorption of gas molecules responsible for carrier trapping, leading to lower resistances and higher breakdown currents in vacuum, where most adsorbed gaseous species are evacuated before any significant re-adsorption can occur. A model is proposed to describe these observations, and is used to estimate the number of adsorbed molecules on a CNF device.


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