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Electrical pumping and tuning of exciton-polaritons in carbon nanotube microcavities


Exciton-polaritons are hybrid light–matter particles that form upon strong coupling of an excitonic transition to a cavity mode. As bosons, polaritons can form condensates with coherent laser-like emission. For organic materials, optically pumped condensation was achieved at room temperature but electrically pumped condensation remains elusive due to insufficient polariton densities. Here we combine the outstanding optical and electronic properties of purified, solution-processed semiconducting (6,5) single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) in a microcavity-integrated light-emitting field-effect transistor to realize efficient electrical pumping of exciton-polaritons at room temperature with high current densities (>10 kA cm−2) and tunability in the near-infrared (1,060 nm to 1,530 nm). We demonstrate thermalization of SWCNT polaritons, exciton-polariton pumping rates 104 times higher than in current organic polariton devices, direct control over the coupling strength (Rabi splitting) via the applied gate voltage, and a tenfold enhancement of polaritonic over excitonic emission. This powerful material–device combination paves the way to carbon-based polariton emitters and possibly lasers.

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Figure 1: Single-walled carbon nanotube-based light-emitting field-effect transistors.
Figure 2: Exciton-polaritons in light-emitting field-effect transistors.
Figure 3: Tunable electrically pumped exciton-polaritons.
Figure 4: Enhanced relaxation and polaritons at high current densities.
Figure 5: Reversible tuning between strong and weak coupling in LEFETs.


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This research was financially supported by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 306298 (EN-LUMINATE) and under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (FP/2014-2020)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 640012 (ABLASE) and by the Scottish Funding Council (through SUPA). L.T. thanks the EPSRC for support through the CM-DTC (EP/L015110/1). J.Z. thanks the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung via the ‘Alfried Krupp Förderpreis für junge Hochschullehrer’ for general support.

Author information




A.G. and M.H. performed the experiments, simulations and analysed the data. Y.Z. assisted with interpretation and data analysis. L.T. contributed to the simulations. A.G., M.C.G. and J.Z. jointly wrote the manuscript. M.C.G. and J.Z. conceived and supervised the project. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Malte C. Gather or Jana Zaumseil.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Graf, A., Held, M., Zakharko, Y. et al. Electrical pumping and tuning of exciton-polaritons in carbon nanotube microcavities. Nature Mater 16, 911–917 (2017).

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