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Rotating nanotube motors offer glimpse of future nanodevices

Posted December 9, 2014

As one of the simplest and tiniest of all motors, a double-walled carbon nanotube (DWCNT) with a rotating inner tube and fixed outer tube may one day play a major role in a variety of future nanodevices. In a new study, researchers have studied the inner tube rotational behavior of a DWCNT motor whose motion is induced by a relatively high uniform temperature.

dwcnt rotating motor 1Five DWCNT models used in simulations, showing the parameters of inner tubes (blue) and outer tubes (orange). Credit: Cai, et al. ©2014 IOP Publishing Ltd

The researchers, K. Cai, et al., at Northwest A&F University in Yangling, China, and the Australian National University in Acton, Australia, have published their paper on DWCNT rotating motors in a recent issue of Nanotechnology.

As the scientists explain, DWCNTs have the potential to act as effective motors because of their combination of two important properties: the large strength of each individual tube due to its strong covalent bonds, and the weak interaction between the two adjacent tubes due to repulsive van der Waals interactions.

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