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Science. 2009 Sep 11;325(5946):1367-71. doi: 10.1126/science.1176112.

Extremely efficient multiple electron-hole pair generation in carbon nanotube photodiodes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Atomic and Solid-State Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


We observed highly efficient generation of electron-hole pairs due to impact excitation in single-walled carbon nanotube p-n junction photodiodes. Optical excitation into the second electronic subband E22 leads to striking photocurrent steps in the device I-V(SD) characteristics that occur at voltage intervals of the band-gap energy E(GAP)/e. Spatially and spectrally resolved photocurrent combined with temperature-dependent studies suggest that these steps result from efficient generation of multiple electron-hole pairs from a single hot E22 carrier. This process is both of fundamental interest and relevant for applications in future ultra-efficient photovoltaic devices.

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