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Ultra-narrow-band near-infrared thermal exciton radiation in intrinsic one-dimensional semiconductors

Ultra-narrow-band near-infrared thermal exciton radiation in intrinsic one-dimensional semiconductors
Taishi Nishihara, Akira Takakura, Yuhei Miyauchi, Kenichiro Itami
Nature Commun. 2018, 9, 3144. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05598-3 [press release]

Thermal radiation is the most primitive light emission phenomenon of materials. Broadband radiation from red-hot materials is well known as the kick-starter phenomenon of modern quantum physics in the early twentieth century; even nowadays, its artificial control plays a central role in modern science and technology. Herein, we report the fundamental thermal radiation properties of intrinsic one-dimensional semiconductors and metals, which have not been elucidated because of significant technical challenges. We observed narrow-band near- infrared radiation from semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes at 1000–2000 K in contrast to its broadband metallic counterpart. We confirm that the ultra-narrow-band radiation is enabled by the thermal generation of excitons that are hydrogen-like neutral exotic atoms comprising mutually bound electrons and holes. Our findings uncover the robust quantum correlations in intrinsic one-dimensional semiconductors even at 2000 K; additionally, the findings provide an opportunity for excitonic optothermal engineering toward the realization of efficient thermophotovoltaic energy harvesting.

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