Hot spot dynamics in carbon nanotube array devices
We report on the dynamics of spatial temperature distributions in aligned semiconducting carbon nanotube array devices with submicrometer channel lengths. By using high-resolution optical microscopy in combination with electrical transport measurements, we observe under steady state bias conditions the emergence of time-variable, local temperature maxima with dimensions below 300 nm, and temperatures above 400 K. On the basis of time domain cross-correlation analysis, we investigate how the intensity fluctuations of the thermal radiation patterns are correlated with the overall device current. The analysis reveals the interdependence of electrical current fluctuations and time-variable hot spot formation that limits the overall device performance and, ultimately, may cause device degradation. The findings have implications for the future development of carbon nanotube-based technologies.