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Electronic Interactions between “Pea” and “Pod”: The Case of Oligothiophenes Encapsulated in Carbon Nanotubes



One of the most challenging strategies to achieve tunable nanophotonic devices is to build robust nanohybrids with variable emission in the visible spectral range, while keeping the merits of pristine single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). This goal is realized by filling SWNTs (“pods”) with a series of oligothiophene molecules (“peas”). The physical properties of these peapods are depicted by using aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and other optical methods including steady-state and time-resolved measurements. Visible photoluminescence with quantum yields up to 30% is observed for all the hybrids. The underlying electronic structure is investigated by density functional theory calculations for a series of peapods with different molecular lengths and tube diameters, which demonstrate that van der Waals interactions are the bonding mechanism between the encapsulated molecule and the tube.