Electronic sensitivity of carbon nanotubes to internal water wetting

Di Cao, Pei Pang, Jin He, Tao Luo, Jae Hyun Park, Predrag Krstic, Colin Nuckolls, Jinyao Tang, Stuart Lindsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We have constructed devices in which the interior of a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) field-effect transistor acts as a nanofluidic channel that connects two fluid reservoirs, permitting measurement of the electronic properties of the SWCNT as it is wetted by an analyte. Wetting of the inside of the SWCNT by water turns the transistor on, while wetting of the outside has little effect. These observations are consistent with theoretical simulations that show that internal water both generates a large dipole electric field, causing charge polarization of the tube and metal electrodes, and shifts the valence band of the SWCNT, while external water has little effect. This finding may provide a new method to investigate water behavior at nanoscale. This also opens a new avenue for building sensors in which the SWCNT simultaneously functions as a concentrator, nanopore, and extremely sensitive electronic detector, exploiting the enhanced sensitivity of the interior surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3113-3119
Number of pages7
JournalACS nano
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 26 2011


  • biosensor
  • carbon nanotube
  • nanoconfinement
  • nanofluidics
  • nanopore
  • water in nanoscale channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Electronic sensitivity of carbon nanotubes to internal water wetting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this