Phonon-assisted electroluminescence from metallic carbon nanotubes and graphene

S. Essig, C. W. Marquardt, A. Vijayaraghavan, M. Ganzhorn, S. Dehm, F. Hennrich, F. Ou, A. A. Green, C. Sciascia, F. Bonaccorso, K. P. Bohnen, H. V. Löhneysen, M. M. Kappes, P. M. Ajayan, M. C. Hersam, A. C. Ferrari, R. Krupke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


We report on light emission from biased metallic single-wall carbon nanotube (SWNT), multiwall carbon nanotube (MWNT) and few-layer graphene (FLG) devices. SWNT devices were assembled from tubes with different diameters in the range 0.7-1.5 nm. They emit light in the visible spectrum with peaks at 1.4 and 1.8 eV. Similar peaks are observed for MWNT and FLG devices. We propose that this light emission is due to phonon-assisted radiative decay from populated φ* band states at the M point to the Fermi level at the K point. Since for most carbon nanotubes as well as for graphene the energy of unoccupied states at the M point is close to 1.6 eV, the observation of two emission peaks at ∼1.6 ∼0.2 eV could indicate radiative decay under emission or absorption of optical phonons, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1589-1594
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 12 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Electroluminescence
  • Grapheme
  • Phonons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science


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