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Surface-tension-driven nanoelectromechanical relaxation oscillator
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View: Figures


Image of FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.

(Color online). Schematic diagram of the nanoelectromechanical relaxation oscillator. Two liquid droplets are located at positions labelled I and II on a multiwalled carbon nanotube substrate. Driving an electrical current through the substrate induces atomic transport along the substrate from Droplet I to Droplet II (small arrow). The radius of the smaller droplet, II, increases more rapidly than the radius of the larger droplet, I, decreases, and eventually they touch. Surface tension forces then rapidly propel the mass at II back to position I through the newly created hydrodynamic channel. The repetition rate of the relaxation events, i.e., the oscillator frequency, is set by the magnitude of the dc electrical drive.

Image of FIG. 2.
FIG. 2.

(Color online). Implementation of the nanoelectromechanical relaxation oscillator. (a) A time series of four TEM video images showing one period of oscillator action. The second frame from the left shows the participating liquid indium droplets, labelled I and II as in the schematic Fig. 1. The suspended nanotube substrate, which is visible crossing the images diagonally, is carrying electrical current from the lower left to the upper right corners. In the first frame, the droplet at Position II is barely visible, but by the third frame it has grown to the point where it is nearly touching the droplet at Position I. In the fourth frame, the oscillator is seen directly after the subsequent relaxation event, when the mass distribution has been reset to a condition like that of the first frame. Parts (b) and (c) show the control voltage and the masses of the two participating droplets as a function of time, over many cycles with varying frequency. (Mass I has been offset by 21 fg for display purposes.) Although the time variation of Mass I is not obvious in the still images, the automated image processing routine reveals perfect anticorrelation with the more visually dramatic variation in Mass II. During the period shown, the drive voltage was adjusted from 1.5 to 1.3 V in two steps of 100 mV, with immediate changes resulting in the relaxation frequency.


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752b84549af89a08dbdd7fdb8b9568b5 journal.articlezxybnytfddd
Scitation: Surface-tension-driven nanoelectromechanical relaxation oscillator