Using Thermal Gradients for Actuation in the Nanoscale
In this paper we will argue that temperature gradients show great potential to induce controlled motion of nanoscaled objects, and could be used in the design of novel nano machines performing useful tasks in that scale. The well known phenomenon of thermal electromigration is a manifestation of this effect; a temperature gradient along a conductor induces the migration of charge carriers towards the cool end of the conductor, and thus a charge current is produced. Examples of experiments and simulations will be shown where it is demonstrated that the same effects can achieve the controlled migration of larger objects, such as clusters, fullerenes and nanotubes, and ideas on how to harness and exploit these effects in nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) will be put forward.
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