‘Nanoclutch’ simulations could aid nanorobot manufacture

Chinese researchers have designed and tested simulations of a nanoclutch, a speed regulation tool for nanomotors.

The so-called nanoclutch is said to consist of two concentric carbon nanotubes (CNTs), separated by a film of water.

According to a statement issued by the American Institute of Physics, electrowetting forces control the friction between the water and the inner and outer walls of the CNTs.

When the two tubes are electrically charged, the water confined between them can transmit the torque from the inner tube to the outer tube, and the device is said to be in the engaged state.

When the CNTs are uncharged, the device is in the disengaged state.

In a paper accepted to the American Institute of Physics’ Journal of Applied Physics, the authors write that their proposed device can perform stepless speed regulation by changing the magnitude of the charge assigned to the CNT atoms.

Although further work is needed, they say the model may be helpful in designing and manufacturing nanorobots.

Researchers from Jiangsu University, Dalian University of Technology, Jiangsu University of Science and Technology, Hohai University and Zhejiang Ocean University contributed to the paper.