Carbon Nanotubes

Volume 111 of the series Topics in Applied Physics pp 287-319

Photoluminescence: Science and Applications

  • Jacques LefebvreAffiliated withInstitute for Microstructural Sciences, NationalResearch Council of Canada Email author 
  • , Shigeo MaruyamaAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Tokyo
  • , Paul FinnieAffiliated withInstitute for Microstructural Sciences, NationalResearch Council of Canada

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In the past five years photoluminescence (PL) of SWNTs has gone from discoveryto one of the most actively researched areas, with broad impact on the basic scienceof SWNTs, as well as the promise of applications. The simplest free-carrier models ofperfect semiconducting SWNTs in vacuum predict that they have direct bandgapsand therefore should be efficient light absorbers and emitters. Experimentally,isolating SWNTs from environmental interactions proves crucial to observing thisstrong PL. The Coulomb interaction enhanced by one-dimensional confinementrequires that excitonic models be invoked to understand PL features. Preparedproperly, SWNTs are strong PL emitters, with good quantum yield, showingprincipal PL peaks with characteristic lineshapes and (n,m)-dependent emission andabsorption energies, as well as a rich absorption spectrum. PL has emerged as animportant characterization tool for determining (n,m) and (n,m) distributions,albeit with some limitations. Extrinsic factors, such as chemical environment,temperature, electric and magnetic field, or intrinsic factors, such as phonons, aremanifest in SWNT PL. Possible applications in sensing, biological markers, andoptoelectronics are beginning to emerge from current research in SWNT PL.