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Effect of chirality and atomic vacancies on dynamics of nanoresonators based on SWCNT

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of chiral single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as mass sensors. Analysis of SWCNT with chiralities is performed using an atomistic finite element model based on a molecular structural mechanics approach. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The cantilever carbon nanotube (CNT) is modeled by considering it as a space frame structure similar to three-dimensional beams and point masses. The elastic properties of the beam element are calculated by considering mechanical characteristics of covalent bonds between the carbon atoms in the hexagonal lattice. The mass of each beam element is assumed as point mass at nodes coinciding with carbon atoms. An atomistic simulation approach is used to find the natural frequencies and to study the effects of defect like atomic vacancies in CNTs on the resonant frequency. The migration of the atomic vacancies along the length is observed for different chiralities. Findings ‐ A reduction in the simulated natural frequency is observed with the maximum value occurring, when the vacancy is found nearer to the fixed end. It is quite evident from the simulation results that the effect of vacancies is significant, and the effect diminishes at 10-2 femtograms mass. Using the higher modes of vibration of SWCNT-based mass sensors, the amount and the position of the mass on the nanotube can be identified. Originality/value ‐ CNT have been used as mass sensors extensively. The present approach is focused to explore the use of chiral SWCNT as sensing device with vacancy defect in it. The variation of the atomic vacancies in CNT along the length has been taken and is analyzed for different chiralities. The effects of defect like atomic vacancies in CNTs on the resonant frequency have been analyzed and observed that the maximum reduction in natural frequency occurs when the vacancy is found nearer to the fixed end due to large stiffness variation.
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Keywords: Carbon; Nanotechnology; Non-metals; Sensors

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 25, 2011

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