Luminescence properties of individual empty and water-filled single-walled carbon nanotubes

Sofie Cambré, Silvia M. Santos, Wim Wenseleers, Ahmad R.T. Nugraha, Riichiro Saito, Laurent Cognet, Brahim Lounis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of water filling on the photoluminescence (PL) properties of SWCNTs is studied by ensemble and single-molecule PL spectroscopy. Red-shifted PL and PL excitation spectra are observed upon water filling for 16 chiralities and can be used to unambiguously distinguish empty SWCNTs from filled ones. The effect of water filling on the optical transitions is well-reproduced by a continuum dielectric constant model previously developed to describe the influence of the nanotube outer environment. Empty nanotubes display narrower luminescence lines and lower inhomogeneous broadening, signatures of reduced extrinsic perturbations. The radial breathing mode phonon sideband is clearly observed in the PL spectrum of small diameter empty tubes, and a strong exciton-phonon coupling is measured for this vibration. Biexponential PL decays are observed for empty and water-filled tubes, and only the short-living component is influenced by the water filling. This may be attributed to a shortening of the radiative lifetime of the bright state by the inner dielectric environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2649-2655
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Mar 27


  • carbon nanotubes
  • environmental effects
  • excitons
  • luminescence
  • single-molecule spectroscopy
  • water filling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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