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OPTNANO — Result In Brief

Project ID: 210642
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Germany

New study on quantum optics of carbon nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes, those cylinders of pure carbon, have been of interest to physicists as much for their unique physics as for their plethora of potential applications. EU-funded researchers studied the fascinating physics characterising interaction of these nanostructures with light.
New study on quantum optics of carbon nanotubes
Containing just a few atoms to a few thousand, nanoparticles behave totally differently compared to their bulk counterparts. Medieval artists unwittingly leveraged nanotechnology several times to create stain-glassed windows in churches or public buildings. Several centuries have gone by however, and complete understanding of how size, shape and structure affect the optical properties of nanomaterials is still lacking.

Optical properties originating from one-dimensional materials offer a golden opportunity to study their narrow selectivity in the wavelength of emission and detection of light. Spurred by the intriguing properties of carbon nanotubes, ideal one-dimensional systems that came to light in 1991, scientists initiated the project OPTNANO (Quantum optics in nanostructures).

Using carbon nanotubes as model systems, project members succeeded in delivering a more detailed description of quantum optics in one-dimensional nanosystems. In such nanotubes, quantum confinement effects are pronounced in the infrared and the visible spectrum. Therefore, the focus of the study was centred on measuring optical transitions, quantum cross-sections and electron interactions using a variety of spectroscopy methods, including luminescence, Raman and photoconductivity.

Carbon nanotubes are not considered perfect; presence of structural defects is inevitable in such carbon networks. Thus, to provide a more complete picture of their optical properties, the team developed techniques to study and introduce imperfections. Optical signatures and their effect on light emission were determined on individual tubes. Experimental activities were complemented by material modelling work.

With proof-of-principle experiments at hand for carbon nanotubes, scientists then proceeded with exploring the optical properties in other one-dimensional materials such as quantum wires and monolayers. Newly developed complex hybrid nanomaterials obtained through combining carbon nanotubes with functional molecules and metal nanoparticles showed outstanding optical properties.

Comprehensive studies into the extraordinary optical properties of carbon nanotubes can catapult them to promising candidates for fabrication of the next generation of quantum information technology devices.

Related information


Quantum optics, carbon nanotubes, optical properties, one-dimensional materials, OPTNANO
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