Quantum tunneling, the ability of electrons to pass through classically forbidden barriers, has been an invaluable tool in the studies of fundamental electronic properties in condensed-matter systems. The tunneling between two conductors reflects their density-of-states and the properties of their separating barrier and as such can be used to determine these quantities with large accuracy. In this work we will use tunneling experiments to study the fundamental properties of electrons in carbon nanotubes (NT). Here, two unique features make tunneling particularly intriguing – the relativistic-like dispersion of the electrons, and their one-dimensional confinement, which renders them into collective excitations. We will use novel NT device architectures that will allow us to create tunneling barriers of arbitrary shapes, to control the properties of the tunneling electrons and to reach the limit of ultra-clean NTs and ultra-strong interactions between electrons. These devices will be utilized to study a varied set of questions: To what extant can the tunneling in NTs be explained by single-particle Zener-like tunneling? Does the relativistic-like nature of electrons lead to Klein paradoxes in tunneling across a sharp barrier? What are the effects of electronic interactions in the tunneling? What are the roles of disorder and number of one-dimensional channels in the tunneling? Can we discover the recently predicted strongly-interacting spin-incoherent liquid of electrons, which is expected to have a unique tunneling signature? Finally, we would use tunneling experiments as a sensitive tool to study the nature of the yet poorly understood small band-gaps in carbon nanotubes. These studies will address for the first time some core questions about electrons in low-dimensions and will also determine the quantum limits for using NTs in electronic device applications.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call