New concepts in molecular and energy transport within carbon nanotubes: Thermopower waves and stochastically resonant ion channels

Steven Shimizu, Wonjoon Choi, Joel T. Abrahamson, Michael S. Strano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Our laboratory has been interested in how carbon nanotubes can be utilized to illustrate new concepts in molecular and energy transfer. In the first example, we predict and demonstrate the concept of thermopower waves for energy generation. Coupling an exothermic chemical reaction with a thermally conductive CNT creates a self-propagating reactive wave driven along its length. We realize such waves in multi-walled nanotubes (MWNT) and show that they produce concomitant electrical pulses of high specific power >7 kW/kg. Such waves of high power density may find uses as unique energy sources. In the second system, we fabricate and study single-walled nanotube (SWNT) ion channels for the first time and show that the longest, highest aspect ratio, and smallest diameter synthetic nanopore examined to date, a 500 mm SWNT, demonstrates oscillations in electro-osmotic current at specific ranges of electric field, that are the signatures of coherence resonance, yielding self-generated rhythmic and frequency-locked transport. The observed oscillations in the current occur due to a coupling between stochastic pore blocking and a diffusion limitation that develops at the pore mouth during proton transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2445-2448
Number of pages4
JournalPhysica Status Solidi (B) Basic Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Coherence resonance
  • Stochastic pore blocking
  • Thermopower waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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