Simulation studies of a “nanogun” based on carbon nanotubes


Quantum mechanical molecular dynamics simulations show that electrically neutral carbon nanotubes or fullerene balls housed in an outer carbon nanotube can be driven into motion by charging the outer tube uniformly. Positively and negatively charged outer tube are found to have quite different actions on the initially neutral nanotubes or fullerene balls. A positively charged tube can drive out the molecule inside it out at speeds over 1 km/s, just like a “nanogun”, while a negatively charged tube can drive the molecule into oscillation inside it and can absorb inwards a neutral molecule in the vicinity of its open end, like a “nanomanipulator”. The results demonstrate that changing the charge environment in specific ways may open the door to conceptually new nano/molecular electromechanical devices.


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Correspondence to Wanlin Guo.

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Dai, Y., Tang, C. & Guo, W. Simulation studies of a “nanogun” based on carbon nanotubes. Nano Res. 1, 176–183 (2008).

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  • Energy conversion
  • carbon nanotube
  • neutral molecule
  • driving mechanisms