Letter abstract


Nature Nanotechnology 2, 33 - 38 (2007)
Published online: 3 January 2007 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2006.169

Subject Categories: Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes | Electronic properties and devices | Photonic structures and devices

Electrically driven thermal light emission from individual single-walled carbon nanotubes

David Mann1, Y. K. Kato1, Anika Kinkhabwala1, Eric Pop1,2, Jien Cao1, Xinran Wang1, Li Zhang1, Qian Wang1, Jing Guo3 & Hongjie Dai1


Light emission from nanostructures exhibits rich quantum effects and has broad applications. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are one-dimensional metals or semiconductors in which large numbers of electronic states in narrow energy ranges, known as van Hove singularities, can lead to strong spectral transitions1, 2. Photoluminescence and electroluminescence involving interband transitions and excitons have been observed in semiconducting SWNTs3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, but are not expected in metallic tubes owing to non-radiative relaxations. Here, we show that, under low bias voltages, a suspended quasi-metallic SWNT (QM-SWNT) emits light owing to Joule heating, displaying strong peaks in the visible and infrared, corresponding to interband transitions. This is a result of thermal light emission in a one-dimensional system, in stark contrast with featureless blackbody-like emission observed in large bundles of SWNTs or multiwalled nanotubes10, 11, 12. This allows for probing of the electronic temperature and non-equilibrium hot optical phonons in Joule-heated QM-SWNTs.

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  1. Department of Chemistry and Laboratory for Advanced Materials, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA
  2. Intel Corporation, Santa Clara, 2200 Mission College Boulevard, California 95054, USA
  3. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA

Correspondence to: Hongjie Dai1 e-mail: hdai@stanford.edu



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