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Open Access Nano Express

Dynamics of mechanical waves in periodic graphene nanoribbon assemblies

Fabrizio Scarpa1*, Rajib Chowdhury2, Kenneth Kam1, Sondipon Adhikari2 and Massimo Ruzzene3

Author Affiliations

1 Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science, University of Bristol, BS8 1TR Bristol, UK

2 Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Centre, Swansea University, SA2 8PP Swansea, UK

3 School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:430  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-430

Published: 17 June 2011


We simulate the natural frequencies and the acoustic wave propagation characteristics of graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) of the type (8,0) and (0,8) using an equivalent atomistic-continuum FE model previously developed by some of the authors, where the C-C bonds thickness and average equilibrium lengths during the dynamic loading are identified through the minimisation of the system Hamiltonian. A molecular mechanics model based on the UFF potential is used to benchmark the hybrid FE models developed. The acoustic wave dispersion characteristics of the GNRs are simulated using a Floquet-based wave technique used to predict the pass-stop bands of periodic mechanical structures. We show that the thickness and equilibrium lengths do depend on the specific vibration and dispersion mode considered, and that they are in general different from the classical constant values used in open literature (0.34 nm for thickness and 0.142 nm for equilibrium length). We also show the dependence of the wave dispersion characteristics versus the aspect ratio and edge configurations of the nanoribbons, with widening band-gaps that depend on the chirality of the configurations. The thickness, average equilibrium length and edge type have to be taken into account when nanoribbons are used to design nano-oscillators and novel types of mass sensors based on periodic arrangements of nanostructures.

PACS 62.23.Kn · 62.25.Fg · 62.25.Jk