Using a carbon nanotube, Cornell University researchers have produced a tiny electromechanical oscillator that might be capable of weighing a single atom. The device, perhaps the smallest of its kind ever produced, can be tuned across a wide range of radio frequencies, and one day might replace bulky power-hungry elements in electronic circuits.
Recent research in nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) has focused on vibrating silicon rods so small that they oscillate at radio frequencies. By replacing the silicon rod with a carbon nanotube, the Cornell researchers have created an oscillator that is even smaller and very durable. Besides serving as a radio frequency circuit element, the new device has applications in mass sensing and basic research.
Paul McEuen, Cornell professor of physics, Vera Sazonova, Cornell graduate student in physics and Yuval Yaish, a visiting scientist in the Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics (LASSP) at Cornell, report on the device in the latest issue (Sept. 16, 2004) of the journal Nature.
Bill Steele | EurekAlert!
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