Boffins tune up nanotube piano wire

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Boffins tune up nanotube piano wire

Delft University of Technology makes world's smallest piano wire.

Delft University of Technology makes world's smallest piano wire.

Researches today have claimed to have engineered and 'tuned' the world's thinnest piano wires. The wires, which were made by scientists from Delft University of Technology and FOM (Fundamental Research on Matter) Foundation, are made of carbon nanotubes that measure approximately two nanometers in diameter.

The boffins made the small wires from carbon nanotubes, measuring approximately one micrometer long and approximately two nanometres in diameter. The tubes were attached to electrodes and initially placed above a layer of silicon oxide. A layer of silicon is contained beneath the silicon oxide.

When a strong and frequently variable alternating current is applied to this layer, the hanging nanotubes vibrate and the suspended tube is alternately attracted and repelled.

By varying the strength and frequency of the applied current, the research group, led by Professor Herre van der Zant, succeeded in transposing the wire from a freely suspended state, to a state in which it is taut and vibrates.

Van der Zant said: "And as such it is like tightening a piano wire or guitar string. You can, as it were, tune the wire."

The researchers published an article on the subject this week in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

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