New look for nanomotors

March 23, 2005 | Source: PhysicsWeb

Physicists in the US have built the first nanoelectromechanical device that exploits the effects of surface tension.

The “relaxation oscillator” consists of two droplets of liquid metal on a substrate made of carbon nanotubes and can be controlled with a small applied electric field. Alex Zettl and colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say the device could find use in various nanomechanical applications, including actuators and motors.