Two studies on carbon nanotubes by CEA DRECAM researchers have just been published in Physical Review Letters and Applied Physics Letters. The first study presents an innovative and experimentally verified theoretical law to predict and characterize the deformation of a carbon nanotube subject to an electrical field. The second study applies this knowledge to produce a nano-switch using innovative dimensioning and positioning control techniques.
MEMs technologies (microelectromechanical systems) combine mechanical, optical, electromagnetic, thermal and fluidic concepts with electronics to produce chip-based integrated systems performing sensor and/or actuator functions. MEMs are currently used in a large number of sectors such as the automobile industry (airbag sensors), the computer peripherals industry (inkjet printer cartridges), and also the defense, medical and space industries. These technologies accompany the advances in microelectronic miniaturization. For sizes less than one micron, the term NEMs is used (nanoelectromechanical systems). However, below a certain size, entirely different production techniques must be employed, one the one hand due to preeminent surface effects very difficult to control, and the other because the physics of the phenomena is susceptible to change in the quantic realm.
Carbon nanotubes are excellent candidates for the production of NEMs. The assembly of nano-objects is an elegant solution to the increasing difficulty of machining massive materials at nanometric scale. A few examples of carbon nanotube NEMs have been published in the literature over the past 4 or 5 years. However, the development of this field of research was limited by the absence of dimensioning control tools for carbon nanotube NEMs.
Pascal Newton | alfa
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