Ion-nanotube terahertz oscillator

Deyu Lu, Yan Li, Umberto Ravaioli, Klaus Schulten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the intriguing dynamics of a potassium ion interacting with a 16Â carbon nanotube. The ion induces a strong dielectric response in the nanotube wall that can be described through a self-consistent tight-binding method. The polarization of the nanotube was found to play a critical role in the ion-nanotube interaction, which exhibits a low access barrier of only 1.05kcal/mol and a deep, attractive well with a depth of about 30kcal/mol. An ion bound in the nanotube is predicted to oscillate at a frequency of about 0.4Â terahertz, dragging the electrons of the nanotube along. Besides its appealing nature in low-dimensional physics, such a nano-oscillator may serve as a room temperature terahertz wave detector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number246801
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 9 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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