Atomic-Scale Mass Sensing Using Carbon Nanotube Resonators

Ultraminiaturized mass spectrometers are highly sought-after tools, with numerous applications in areas such as environmental protection, exploration, and drug development. We realize atomic scale mass sensing using doubly clamped suspended carbon nanotube nanomechanical resonators, in which their single-electron transistor properties allows self-detection of the nanotube vibration. We use the detection of shifts in the resonance frequency of the nanotubes to sense and determine the inertial mass of atoms as well as the mass of the nanotube. This highly sensitive mass detection capability may eventually enable applications such as on-chip detection, analysis, and identification of compounds.