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Understanding the microscopic processes that govern the charge-induced deformation of carbon nanotubes

: Pastewka, L.; Koskinen, P.; Elsässer, C.; Moseler, M.

Preprint urn:nbn:de:0011-n-1104104 (1.3 MByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: c6a163733426bd8fbb08cb1b6c3d67b6
Created on: 5.3.2011

Physical Review. B 80 (2009), No.15, Art. 155428, 16 pp.
ISSN: 0163-1829
ISSN: 1098-0121
ISSN: 0556-2805
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWM ()
microscopic process; carbon nanotubes; charge-induced strain

While carbon nanotubes have technological potential as actuators, the underlying actuation mechanisms remain poorly understood. We calculate charge-induced stresses and strains for electrochemical actuation of carbon nanotubes with different chiralities and defects, using densityfunctional theory and various tight-binding models. For a given deformation mode the concept of bonding and anti-bonding orbitals can be redefined depending on the sign of a differential band structure stress. We use this novel theoretical framework to analyse orbital contributions to the actuation. These show charge asymmetric behavior which is due to next-nearest-neighbor hopping, while Coulombic contributions account for approximately charge-symmetric isotropic deformations. In the typical case of a (10, 10) tube strains around 0.1% with 1 nN force along the tube axis are obtained. Defects and functional groups have negligible influence on the actuation. In multi-wall tubes we find charge inversion on the inner tubes due to Friedel-type oscillations which could lead to a slight magnification of charge-induced strains. Finally, we consider photo actuation of nanotubes and predict that transitions between van-Hove singularities can be expected to expand the tubes.