Scientific Reports

Rotation motion of designed nano-turbine

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Construction of nano-devices that can generate controllable unidirectional rotation is an important part of nanotechnology. Here, we design a nano-turbine composed of carbon nanotube and graphene nanoblades, which can be driven by fluid flow. Rotation motion of nano-turbine is quantitatively studied by molecular dynamics simulations on this model system. A robust linear relationship is achieved with this nano-turbine between its rotation rate and the fluid flow velocity spanning two orders of magnitude, and this linear relationship remains intact at various temperatures. More interestingly, a striking difference from its macroscopic counterpart is identified: the rotation rate is much smaller (by a factor of ∼15) than that of the macroscopic turbine with the same driving flow. This discrepancy is shown to be related to the disruption of water flow at nanoscale, together with the water slippage at graphene surface and the so-called € dragging effect €. Moreover, counterintuitively, the ratio of € effective € driving flow velocity increases as the flow velocity increases, suggesting that the linear dependence on the flow velocity can be more complicated in nature. These findings may serve as a foundation for the further development of rotary nano-devices and should also be helpful for a better understanding of the biological molecular motors.


28 Jul 2014


Scientific Reports