A method for measuring rotation of a thermal carbon nanomotor using centrifugal effect

K Cai and JZ Yu and J Shi and QH Qin, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6, 27338 (2016).

DOI: 10.1038/srep27338

A thermal nanomotor is relatively easy to fabricate and regulate as it contains just a few or even no accessory devices. Since the double-wall carbon nanotube (CNT)-based rotary nanomotor was established in a thermostat, assessment of the rotation of the rotor (inner tube) in the stator (outer tube) of the nanomotor has been critical, but remains challenging due to two factors: the small size of the rotor (only a few nanometers) and the high rotational frequency (>> 1 GHz). To measure the rotation of the nanomotor, in the present study, a probe test method is proposed. Briefly, the rotor is connected to an end-tube (CNT) through a graphene (GN) nanoribbon. As the CNT-probe is on the trajectory of the end-tube which rotates with the rotor, it will collide with the end- tube. The sharp fluctuation indicating the probe tip deflection can be observed and recorded. As a curly GN by hydrogenation is adopted for connecting the rotor and the end-tube, collision between the end-tube and the probe tip occurs only when the centrifugal force is higher than a threshold which can be considered as the rotational frequency of the rotor being measured by the present method.

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