Faculty Candidate Seminar

Small and Fast: Terahertz Ballistic Electron Resonance in a Single-walled Carbon Nanotube

Dr. Zhaohui ZhongPostdoctoral AssociateCornell University

Understanding the physics of low-dimensional systems and the operation of next-generation electronics will depend on our ability to measure the electrical properties of nanomaterials at terahertz frequencies (~ 100 GHz to 10 THz). Single-walled carbon nanotubes are prototypical one-dimensional nanomaterials because of their unique band structure and long mean free path. Although nanotube transistors have been studied at microwave frequencies (100 MHz to 50 GHz), no techniques currently exist to probe their terahertz response. I will describe the first terahertz electrical measurements of single-walled carbon nanotube transistors performed in the time domain. We observe a ballistic electron resonance that corresponds to the roundtrip transit of an electron along the nanotube with a picosecond-scale period. The electron velocity is found to be constant and equal to the Fermi velocity, showing that the high-frequency electron response is dominated by single-particle excitations rather than collective plasmon modes. These results not only demonstrate a powerful new tool for directly probing picosecond electron motion in nanostructures, but also pave the way for carbon nanotube based THz nanoelectronics.

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