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Nonlinear damping in mechanical resonators made from carbon nanotubes and graphene

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Publication details

JournalNature Nanotechnology
DatePublished - 1 Jun 2011
Issue number6
Number of pages4
Pages (from-to)339-342
Original languageEnglish


The theory of damping is discussed in Newton's Principia and has been tested in objects as diverse as the Foucault pendulum, the mirrors in gravitational-wave detectors and submicrometre mechanical resonators. In general, the damping observed in these systems can be described by a linear damping force. Advances in nanofabrication mean that it is now possible to explore damping in systems with one or more atomic-scale dimensions. Here we study the damping of mechanical resonators based on carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets . The damping is found to strongly depend on the amplitude of motion, and can be described by a nonlinear rather than a linear damping force. We exploit the nonlinear nature of damping in these systems to improve the figures of merit for both nanotube and graphene resonators. For instance, we achieve a quality factor of 100,000 for a graphene resonator.

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