Although metallic nanostructures are useful for nanoscale optics, all of their key optical properties are determined by their geometry. This makes it difficult to adjust these properties independently, and can restrict applications. Here we use the absolute intensity of Rayleigh scattering to show that single-walled carbon nanotubes can form ideal optical wires. The spatial distribution of the radiation scattered by the nanotubes is determined by their shape, but the intensity and spectrum of the scattered radiation are determined by exciton dynamics, quantum-dot-like optical resonances and other intrinsic properties. Moreover, the nanotubes display a uniform peak optical conductivity of ∼8 e2/h, which we derive using an exciton model, suggesting universal behaviour similar to that observed in nanotube conductance. We further demonstrate a radiative coupling between two distant nanotubes, with potential applications in metamaterials and optical antennas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering