Quantitative thermal imaging of single-walled carbon nanotube devices by scanning Joule expansion microscopy

Xu Xie, Kyle L. Grosse, Jizhou Song, Chaofeng Lu, Simon Dunham, Frank Du, Ahmad E. Islam, Yuhang Li, Yihui Zhang, Eric Pop, Yonggang Huang, William P. King*, John A. Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Electrical generation of heat in single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and subsequent thermal transport into the surroundings can critically affect the design, operation, and reliability of electronic and optoelectronic devices based on these materials. Here we investigate such heat generation and transport characteristics in perfectly aligned, horizontal arrays of SWNTs integrated into transistor structures. We present quantitative assessments of local thermometry at individual SWNTs in these arrays, evaluated using scanning Joule expansion microscopy. Measurements at different applied voltages reveal electronic behaviors, including metallic and semiconducting responses, spatial variations in diameter or chirality, and localized defect sites. Analytical models, validated by measurements performed on different device structures at various conditions, enable accurate, quantitative extraction of temperature distributions at the level of individual SWNTs. Using current equipment, the spatial resolution and temperature precision are as good as ∼100 nm and ∼0.7 K, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10267-10275
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 27 2012


  • chirality change
  • defect
  • heat generation
  • resolution
  • scanning Joule expansion microscopy
  • single-walled carbon nanotube
  • temperature distribution
  • thermal expansion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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