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Shrinking a Carbon Nanotube

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posted on 13.12.2006, 00:00 by T. D. Yuzvinsky, W. Mickelson, S. Aloni, G. E. Begtrup, A. Kis, A. Zettl
We report a method to controllably alter the diameter of an individual carbon nanotube. The combination of defect formation via electron irradiation and simultaneous resistive heating and electromigration in vacuum causes the nanotube to continuously transform into a high-quality nanotube of successively smaller diameter, as observed by transmission electron microscopy. The process can be halted at any diameter. Electronic transport measurements performed in situ reveal a striking dependence of conductance on nanotube geometry. As the diameter of the nanotube is reduced to near zero into the carbon chain regime, we observe negative differential resistance.