A nanoscale nanocrystal which may be used as a reciprocating motor is provided, comprising a substrate having an energy differential across it, e.g. an electrical connection to a voltage source at a proximal end; an atom reservoir on the substrate distal to the electrical connection; a nanoparticle ram on the substrate distal to the atom reservoir; a nanolever contacting the nanoparticle ram and having an electrical connection to a voltage source, whereby a voltage applied between the electrical connections on the substrate and the nanolever causes movement of atoms between the reservoir and the ram. Movement of the ram causes movement of the nanolever relative to the substrate. The substrate and nanolever preferably comprise multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) and the atom reservoir and nanoparticle ram are preferably metal (e.g. indium) deposited as small particles on the MWNTs. The substrate may comprise a silicon chip that has been fabricated to provide the necessary electrodes and other electromechanical structures, and further supports an atomic track, which may comprise an MWNT.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT
This invention was made during work supported by U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CCR 0210176. The government has certain rights in this invention.