Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University (Germany) and the University of St Andrews (Scotland) used light-emitting and extremely stable transistors to reach strong light-matter coupling and create exciton-polaritons. These particles may pave the way for new light sources, so-called electrically pumped polariton lasers, that could be manufactured with carbon nanotubes. These findings, published in "Nature Materials", are the result of a cooperation between Prof. Dr Jana Zaumseil (Heidelberg) and Prof. Dr Malte C. Gather (St Andrews).
In recent years, research on organic, carbon-based semiconductors for optoelectronic components has led to a variety of applications. Among them are light-emitting diodes for energy-efficient, high-resolution smartphone and TV screens. Despite the rapid progress in this area, realising an electrically pumped laser from organic materials remains elusive.