Franck-Condon blockade in suspended carbon nanotube quantum dots
Schultz, Maximilian G.
von Oppen, Felix
Nature Publishing Group
Understanding the influence of vibrational motion of the atoms on electronic transitions in molecules constitutes a cornerstone of quantum physics, as epitomized by the Franck-Condon principle of spectroscopy. Recent advances in building molecular-electronics devices and nanoelectromechanical systems open a new arena for studying the interaction between mechanical and electronic degrees of freedom in transport at the single-molecule level. The tunneling of electrons through molecules or suspended quantum dots has been shown to excite vibrational modes, or vibrons. Beyond this effect, theory predicts that strong electron-vibron coupling dramatically suppresses the current flow at low biases, a collective behaviour known as Franck-Condon blockade. Here we show measurements on quantum dots formed in suspended single-wall carbon nanotubes revealing a remarkably large electron-vibron coupling and, due to the high quality and unprecedented tunability of our samples, admit a quantitative analysis of vibron-mediated electronic transport in the regime of strong electron-vibron coupling. This allows us to unambiguously demonstrate the Franck-Condon blockade in a suspended nanostructure. The large observed electron-vibron coupling could ultimately be a key ingredient for the detection of quantized mechanical motion. It also emphasizes the unique potential for nanoelectromechanical device applications based on suspended graphene sheets and carbon nanotubes.
Copyright © 2009 Nature Publishing Group
Vol. 5, pp. 327 - 331