Atom balance based on a carbon nanotube resonator

Yuan-Chih Chang 1Der-Hsien Lien 1Shau-Chieh Wang 1Tung Hsu 2Chia-Seng Chang 1Tien-Tzou Tsong 1

1. Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
2. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, National tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan


We demonstrate a carbon-nanotube-based resonator with atomic mass resolution.  We tailored a multiwalled carbon nanotube (CNT) to possess a resonant frequency over 130 MHz and a Q factor of ~1000.  Calculated with the mass of this tube, the mass sensitivity is estimated about 10-22 g.  By detecting the resonance frequency shift of this CNT using the STM@TEM system, the mass of a 3 nm Ag particle was estimated to be 0.18x10-18 g, close to the mass of 1000 Ag atoms.  Our tailored CNT is thus capable to resolve a single Ag atom and can be named an ‘‘atom-balance’’.  It can also be found that the resonance frequency shift due to the Ag particle is sensitive to the Ag particle’s adsorption position on a CNT, as shown in Fig.1.  The results are confirmed with the FEM simulation.  In addition, when a CNT is driven into resonance under the evaporation of Ag atoms, a gradient distribution of Ag particles along the CNT axis can be assembled (Fig. 2).  By combining these techniques, further improvements may conceivably achieve the mass resolution of a light element, which could then enable the elemental or chemical identification.e_mrs_1.jpg


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Presentation: Oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2009, Symposium I, by Yuan-Chih Chang
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2009

Submitted: 2009-05-11 11:12
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:48