The researchers at University of Washington able to measure the interaction between the atoms and molecules of carbon nano tube.
David Cobden, UW professor of physics and is team studying the behaviour of carbon nanotube working as a transistor when gas atoms touches the surface of the nano tube. Their findings were published in May in the journal Nature Physics.
When an atom stuck to the molecule of the nano tube, a tiny fraction of the charge of one electron is transferred to the surface of the nano tube which has resulted in measurable change in electrical resistance.
“This aspect of atoms interacting with surfaces has never been detected unambiguously before,” Cobden said. “When many atoms are stuck to the miniscule tube at the same time, the measurements reveal their collective dances, including big fluctuations that occur on warming analogous to the boiling of water.”
This research outcome is useful in case of lithium batteries where lithium atoms sticking and transferring charges to carbon electrodes, and also in activated charcoal filters where molecules stick to the carbon surface to be removed.
This research may be also interesting to semiconductor researchers. The semiconductor manufacturing technology is moving towards atomic scale processing, it is important to know how atoms behave when they come in close contact with materials such as carbon.