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A mechanism for cutting carbon nanotubes with a scanning tunneling microscope

  • A. Rubio
  • S.P. Apell
  • L.C. Venema
  • C. Dekker

Abstract:

We discuss the local cutting of single-walled carbon nanotubes by a voltage pulse to the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope. The tip voltage (\(\) V) is the key physical quantity in the cutting process. After reviewing several possible physical mechanisms we conclude that the cutting process relies on the weakening of the carbon-carbon bonds through a combination of localized particle-hole excitations induced by inelastically tunneling electrons and elastic deformation due to the electric field between tip and sample. The carbon network releases part of the induced mechanical stress by forming topological defects that act as nucleation centers for the formation of dislocations that dynamically propagate towards bond-breaking.

PACS. 61.16.Ch Scanning probe microscopy: scanning tunneling, atomic force, scanning optical, magnetic force, etc. - 61.48.+c Fullerenes and fullerene-related materials - 62.20.Fe Deformation and plasticity (including yield, ductility, and superplasticity) 

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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, Società Italiana di Fisica 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Rubio
    • 1
  • S.P. Apell
    • 2
  • L.C. Venema
    • 3
  • C. Dekker
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Física Teórica, Universidad de Valladolid, 47011 Valladolid, SpainES
  2. 2.Departamento de Física de Materiales, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Aptdo. 1072, San Sebastian 20080, Basque Country and Donostia International Physics Center, San Sebastian, SpainES
  3. 3.Department of Applied Sciences and DIMES, Delft University of Technology, Lorentzweg 1, 2628 CJ Delft, The NetherlandsNL

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