A team of scientists recently designed a new kind of nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) that is capable of generating mechanical movement through electrons interaction. A unique one, this one doesn’t need any electric current like other ones. The electron-electron interactions pair up the two electron reservoirs that exist at different temperatures leading to generation of a heat flow between them that leads to suspended carbon nanotube that can vibrate. The research team had researcher from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, A.Vikstrom and B.Verkin who comes from Institute for Low Temperature Physics and Engineering for National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine located in Kharkov, Ukraine.
Vikstrom says, “Microscopic devices which combine electronics with mechanics—MEMS (microelectromechanical systems)—are ubiquitous in the modern world. The sensors inside our smart phones which determine acceleration, orientation, etc., are good examples. As electronic devices become smaller, there is an ongoing endeavor to replace such microscopic structures with nanoscopic ones—NEMS. Our research belongs in this category; we propose, model, and study new NEMS devices. The NEMS heat engine that we have suggested is special in that it converts a heat flow into mechanical motion without requiring or generating an electrical current.”
There have been several other proposals made for single-electron phenomena that leads to mechanical vibrations in the NEMS devices. Usually, these procedures need an electric current and if that current gets blocked than mechanisms come to a halt. The new mechanism deliberately blocks electric current. It is constituted by suspended nanotubes between two electrode leads where the leads pair act as second reservoir. Electrons have the freedom to shuttle freely from reservoir to nanotube. But as the electrons have different spins these cannot travel to opposite reservoir so, there is no charge transfer but the system works perfectly.
Since, the system makes use of mechanical energy, it behaves more like a nanoscale heat engine. As the temperature difference takes a rise the engine efficiency also increases. Vikstrom again says, “If you consider the general concept of a heat engine and imagine it in the context of an electronic circuit, it is easy to imagine the benefits. “Heat is always present in electrical circuits as a by-product. Such heat is usually just waste energy, but if you could harness it to, say, power other integrated NEMS devices, you would have a more energy efficient system.”
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