Tailoring carbon nanotubes

Tom Yuzvinsky

Precision cutting of nanotubes

We have developed a fast, easy way to locally remove material from nanotubes using the low energy focused electron beam of a scanning electron microscope (SEM).   Using this method, clean, precise cuts can be made into nanotubes.  The cutting process consists of rastering the electron beam across the nanotube while bleeding water vapor into the SEM chamber.  The beam breaks the water molecules into highly reactive radical species, which then attack the nanotube and carry away material in gaseous form.

Video of cutting process (double speed)

Damage is localized to the immediate vicinity of the cut. At high partial pressures of water vapor, the cutting speed is found to depend strongly upon the intensity of the electron beam. However, under typical SEM imaging conditions, the beam-induced damage is limited by water vapor concentration and can be prevented with sufficient pumping time.

See also:

"Precision cutting of nanotubes with a low-energy electron beam"
TD Yuzvinsky, AM Fennimore, W Mickelson, C Esquivias and A Zettl
Applied Physics Letters 86, 053109 (2005)

"Tunable thermal links"
CW Chang, D Okawa, H Garcia, TD Yuzvinsky, A Majumdar and A Zettl
Applied Physics Letters 90, 193114 (2007)

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