Open Access Nano Express

Defect-related hysteresis in nanotube-based nano-electromechanical systems

Leonidas Tsetseris12* and Sokrates T Pantelides234

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physics, National Technical University of Athens, GR-15780 Athens, Greece

2 Department of Physics and Astronomy,Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

3 Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

4 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:245  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-245

Published: 22 March 2011

Abstract

The electronic properties of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) depend on the positions of their walls with respect to neighboring shells. This fact can enable several applications of MWCNTs as nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS). In this article, we report the findings of a first-principles study on the stability and dynamics of point defects in double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs) and their role in the response of the host systems under inter-tube displacement. Key defect-related effects, namely, sudden energy changes and hysteresis, are identified, and their relevance to a host of MWCNT-based NEMS is highlighted. The results also demonstrate the dependence of these effects on defect clustering and chirality of DWCNT shells.