American Chemical Society
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Auger Suppression of Incandescence in Individual Suspended Carbon Nanotube pn-Junctions

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-03-02, 20:16 authored by Bo Wang, Sisi Yang, Yu Wang, Ragib Ahsan, Xiaowei He, Younghee Kim, Han Htoon, Rehan Kapadia, Demis D. John, Brian Thibeault, Stephen K. Doorn, Stephen B. Cronin
There are various mechanisms of light emission in carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which give rise to a wide range of spectral characteristics that provide important information. Here we report suppression of incandescence via Auger recombination in suspended carbon nanotube pn-junctions generated from dual-gate CNT field-effect transistor (FET) devices. By applying equal and opposite voltages to the gate electrodes (i.e., Vg1 = −Vg2), we create a pn-junction within the CNT. Under these gating conditions, we observe a sharp peak in the incandescence intensity around zero applied gate voltage, where the intrinsic region has the largest spatial extent. Here, the emission occurs under high electrical power densities of around 0.1 MW/cm2 (or 6 μW) and arises from thermal emission at elevated temperatures above 800 K (i.e., incandescence). It is somewhat surprising that this thermal emission intensity is so sensitive to the gating conditions, and we observe a 1000-fold suppression of light emission between Vg1 = 0 and 15 V, over a range in which the electrical power dissipated in the nanotube is roughly constant. This behavior is understood on the basis of Auger recombination, which suppresses light emission by the excitation of free carriers. Based on the calculated carrier density and band profiles, the length of the intrinsic region drops by a factor of 7–25× over the range from |Vg| = 0 to 15 V. We, therefore, conclude that the light emission intensity is significantly dependent on the free carrier density profile and the size of the intrinsic region in these CNT devices.