Nanoparticle Traffic on Helical Tracks: Thermophoretic Mass Transport through Carbon Nanotubes


P.A.E. Schoen, J.H. Walther, S. Arcidiacono, D. Poulikakos, P. Koumoutsakos, Nano Letters, 6, 9,1910-1917, 2006



Using molecular dynamics simulations, we demonstrate and quantify thermophoretic motion of solid gold nanoparticles inside carbon nanotubes subject to wall temperature gradients ranging from 0.4 to 25 K/nm. For temperature gradients below 1 K/nm, we find that the particles move "on tracks" in a predictable fashion as they follow unique helical orbits depending on the geometry of the carbon nanotubes. These findings markedly advance our knowledge of mass transport mechanisms relevant to nanoscale applications.