Imaging the formation of a p-n junction in a suspended carbon nanotube with scanning photocurrent microscopy

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We use scanning photocurrent microscopy (SPCM) to investigate individual suspended semiconducting carbon nanotube devices where the potential profile is engineered by means of local gates. In situ tunable p-n junctions can be generated at any position along the nanotube axis. Combining SPCM with transport measurements allows a detailed microscopic study of the evolution of the band profiles as a function of the gates voltage. Here we study the emergence of a p-n and a n-p junctions out of a n-type transistor channel using two local gates. In both cases the I - V curves recorded for gate configurations corresponding to the formation of the p-n or n-p junction in the SPCM measurements reveal a clear transition from resistive to rectification regimes. The rectification curves can be fitted well to the Shockley diode model with a series resistor and reveal a clear ideal diode behavior.