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Phase Transitions of Adsorbed Atoms on the Surface of a Carbon Nanotube

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Science  29 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5965, pp. 552-555
DOI: 10.1126/science.1182507

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Abstract

Phase transitions of adsorbed atoms and molecules on two-dimensional substrates are well explored, but similar transitions in the one-dimensional limit have been more difficult to study experimentally. Suspended carbon nanotubes can act as nanoscale resonators with remarkable electromechanical properties and the ability to detect adsorption at the level of single atoms. We used single-walled carbon nanotube resonators to study the phase behavior of adsorbed argon and krypton atoms as well as their coupling to the substrate electrons. By monitoring the resonance frequency in the presence of gases, we observed the formation of monolayers on the cylindrical surface, phase transitions within them, and simultaneous modification of the electrical conductance.

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