Spectroscopic Properties and STM Images of Carbon Nanotubes

Applied Physics A-Materials Science & Processing 68, 275 - 282 (1999)

Spectroscopic Properties and STM Images of Carbon Nanotubes

A. Rubio

We present a theoretical study of the role of the local environment in the electronic properties of carbon nanotubes: isolated single- and multi-wall nanotubes, nanotube ropes, tubes supported on gold and cut to finite length. Interaction with the substrate or with other tubes does not alter the scanning tunneling microscopy patterns (STM) observed for isolated tubes. A finite-length nanotube shows standingwave patterns that can be completely characterized by a set of four different three-dimensional shapes. These patterns are understood in terms of a simple π-electron tight-binding (TB) model. STM-topographic images of topological defects ani (pentagon=heptagon pair) and tube caps have also been studied. In both cases the image obtained depends on the sign of the applied voltage and can be described in terms of the previous catalog of STM images (interference between electronic waves scattered by the defect).We have also computed the electronic density of states for isolated tubes with different chiralities and radii, confirming a correlation between the peak structure in the DOS and nanotube diameter. However, the metallic plateau in the DOS also depends on the nanotube chirality. Furthermore the conduction an valence band structures are not fully symmetrical to one another. This anisotropy shows up in the DOS and indicates the limitations of the π-TB model in describing spectroscopic data. In contrast to STM images, here the interaction with the substrate does modify the energy levels of the nanotube. We observe opening of small pseudogaps around the Fermi level and broadening of the sharp van Hove singularities of the isolated single-walled nanotubes that can be used to extract useful information about the tube structure and bonding. The combination of STM and spectroscopic studies provides a new way to address the electronic and structural properties of carbon and composite nanotubes.

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