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Infrared light emission from nano hot electron gas created in atomic point contacts

Abstract : Gold atomic point contacts are prototype systems to evidence ballistic electron transport. The typical dimension of the nanojunction being smaller than the electron-phonon interaction length, even at room temperature, electrons transfer their excess energy to the lattice only far from the contact. At the contact however, favored by huge current densities, electron-electron interactions result in a nano hot electron gas acting as a source of photons. Using a home built Mechanically Controlled Break Junction, it is reported here, for the first time, that this nano hot electron gas also radiates in the infrared range (0.2 eV to 1.2 eV). Moreover, following the description introduced by Tomchuk et al. (Sov. Phys.-Solid State, 8 (1966) 2510), we show that this radiation is compatible with a black-body–like spectrum emitted from an electron gas at temperatures of several thousands of kelvins.
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T Malinowski, H Klein, Maksym Iazykov, Philippe Dumas. Infrared light emission from nano hot electron gas created in atomic point contacts. EPL - Europhysics Letters, European Physical Society/EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/IOP Publishing, 2016, 114 (5), 57002-p1 - 57002-p5. ⟨10.1209/0295-5075/114/57002⟩. ⟨hal-01586763⟩

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