Nanoscale Continuous Directional Motion Driven by a Cyclic Thermal Field

YC Chen and JT Leng and ZR Guo and YY Zhang and TC Chang, JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS-TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASME, 88, 121008 (2021).

DOI: 10.1115/1.4052152

Directional motion plays a crucial role in various mechanical systems. Although mechanisms for nanoscale directional motion have been widely used in many aspects of nanotechnology, it remains a great challenge to generate continuous and controllable motion at the nanoscale. Herein, we propose a nanoscale continuous directional motion in cyclic thermal fields by using a double-walled system which consists of an outer BN/C heterojunction nanotube and a concentric inner carbon nanotube (CNT). By manipulating the heating regions of the outer BN/C heterojunction tube, the continuous motion of the inner CNT can be realized with ease. The inner CNT demonstrates three distinct movements due to the joint actions of the asymmetric thermal gradient forces and interlayer attraction forces caused by the presence of the outer BN/C heterojunction nanotube. The mechanism revealed in the present study may be useful in designing novel devices for energy conversion and directional transportation.

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