Nanotube Radio


Image: Zettl Research Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and UC Berkeley (my alma mater, yay!) have just created the world's smallest radio: from a single carbon nanotube!

The single nanotube serves, at once, as all major components of a radio: antenna, tuner, amplifier, and demodulator. Moreover, the antenna and tuner are implemented in a radically different manner than traditional radios, receiving signals via high frequency mechanical vibrations of the nanotube rather than through traditional electrical means. We have already used the nanotube radio to receive and play music from FM radio transmissions such as Layla by Eric Clapton (Derek and the Dominos) and the Beach Boy's Good Vibrations. The nanotube radio's extremely small size could enable radical new applications such as radio controlled devices small enough to exist in the human bloodstream, or simply smaller, cheaper, and more efficient wireless devices such as cellular phones.

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anyone here read the "his dark materials" series by philip pullman? this reminds me of the lodestones that those tiny spies used to communicate! awesome! (if you haven't read this series, i highly recommend it)
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I do research with nanotubes and this is a really cool application of them that illustrated their unique properties. That being said, the worlds smallest radio is a bit of a mistruth, because the device had to be operated in a vacuum (which means vacuum chamber), and this device specifically was also operated in a transmission electron microscope- which is pretty big, so it is probably one of the worlds larger radios, in reality.
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