Vibrating carbon nanotubes as water pumps
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- Qiu, H., Shen, R. & Guo, W. Nano Res. (2011) 4: 284. doi:10.1007/s12274-010-0080-y
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Nanopumps conducting fluids directionally through nanopores and nanochannels have attracted considerable interest for their potential applications in nanofiltration, water purification, and hydroelectric power generation. Here, we demonstrate by molecular dynamics simulations that an excited vibrating carbon nanotube (CNT) cantilever can act as an efficient and simple nanopump. Water molecules inside the vibrating cantilever are driven by centrifugal forces and can undergo a continuous flow from the fixed to free ends of the CNT. Further extensive simulations show that the pumping function holds good not only for a single-file water chain in a narrow (6,6) CNT, but also for bulk-like water columns inside wider CNTs, and that the water flux increases monotonically with increasing diameter of the nanotube.