Better to Be Left Hanging

Science  21 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5772, pp. 333
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5772.333c

The electronic properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have been understood in terms of both band and excitonic carrier models. An argument made in favor of the band model is that the photoexcitation spectra of the SWNTs matches their absorption spectra. Itkis et al. (p. 413) found that by suspending SWNT films, they could increase the photoconductivity response by at least five orders of magnitude, a value large enough to consider these materials as infrared detectors. Because the photoconductivity is bolometric (that is, has a thermal origin), these effects cannot be directly related to photoexcitations and conductivity models.

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