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Pure Appl. Chem., 2000, Vol. 72, No. 1-2, pp. 209-219

Nanomeasurements of individual carbon nanotubes by in situ TEM

Z. L. Wang*, P. Poncharal and W. A. de Heer

School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332 USA

Abstract: Property characterization of nanomaterials is challenged by the small size of the structure because of the difficulties in manipulation. Here we demonstrate a novel approach that allows a direct measurement of the mechanical and electrical properties of individual nanotube-like structures by in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The technique is powerful in a way that it can be directly correlated to the atomic-scale microstructure of the carbon nanotube with its physical properties, thus providing a complete characterization of the nanotube. Applications of the technique will be demonstrated in measurements of the mechanical properties, the electron field emission, and the ballistic quantum conductance of individual carbon nanotubes. A nanobalance technique is demonstrated that can be applied to measure the mass of a single tiny particle as light as 22 fg (1 f = 10-15 ).