An electron energy-loss spectroscopic (EELS) study using a monochromator transmission electron microscope was conducted for investigating the dielectric response of isolated single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) owing to interband transitions characteristic to chiral structures. Individual chiral structures of the SWCNTs were determined by electron diffraction patterns. EELS spectra obtained from isolated SWCNTs showed sharp peaks below π plasmon energy of 5 eV, which were attributed to the characteristic interband transitions of SWCNTs. In addition, unexpected shoulder structures were observed at the higher energy side of each sharp peak. Simulations of EELS spectra by using the continuum dielectric theory showed that an origin of the shoulder structures was because of the surface dipole mode along the circumference direction of the SWCNT. It was noticed that the electron excitation energies obtained by EELS were slightly higher than those of optical studies, which might be because of the inelastic scattering process with the momentum transfers. To interpret the discrepancy between the EELS and optical experiments, it is necessary to conduct more accurate simulation including the first principle calculation for the band structure of SWCNTs.
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