Nanotube Molecular Wires as Chemical Sensors

Science  28 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5453, pp. 622-625
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5453.622

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Chemical sensors based on individual single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are demonstrated. Upon exposure to gaseous molecules such as NO2 or NH3, the electrical resistance of a semiconducting SWNT is found to dramatically increase or decrease. This serves as the basis for nanotube molecular sensors. The nanotube sensors exhibit a fast response and a substantially higher sensitivity than that of existing solid-state sensors at room temperature. Sensor reversibility is achieved by slow recovery under ambient conditions or by heating to high temperatures. The interactions between molecular species and SWNTs and the mechanisms of molecular sensing with nanotube molecular wires are investigated.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: hdai{at}

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