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World's smallest radio uses single nanotube to pick up good vibrations
Date:10/31/2007

oms that form a tube so strong that some scientists have suggested using a nanotube wire to tether satellites in a fixed position above Earth. The nanotubes also exhibit unusual electronic properties because of their size, which, for the nanotubes used in the radio receiver, are about 10 nanometers in diameter and several hundred nanometers long. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is about 50,000-100,000 nanometers in diameter.

In the nanoradio, a single carbon nanotube works as an all-in-one antenna, tuner, amplifier and demodulator for both AM and FM. These are separate components in a standard radio. A demodulator removes the AM or FM carrier frequency, which is in the kiloHertz and megaHertz range, respectively, to retrieve the lower frequency broadcast information.

The nanoradio detects radio signals in a radically new way - it vibrates thousands to millions of times per second in tune with the radio wave. This makes it a true nanoelectromechanical device, dubbed NEMS, that integrates the mechanical and electrical properties of nanoscale materials.

In a normal radio, ambient radio waves from different transmitting stations generate small currents at different frequencies in the antenna, while a tuner selects one of these frequencies to amplify. In the nanoradio, the nanotube, as the antenna, detects radio waves mechanically by vibrating at radio frequencies. The nanotube is placed in a vacuum and hooked to a battery, which covers its tip with negatively charged electrons, and the electric field of the radio wave pushes and pulls the tip thousands to millions of times per second.

While large objects, like a stiff wire or a wooden ruler pinned at one end, vibrate at low frequencies - between tens and hundreds of times per second - the tiny nanotubes vibrate at high frequencies ranging from kiloHertz (thousands of times per second) to hundreds of megaHertz (100 million times per second). Thus, a single nanotub
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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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