A reversible strain-induced electrical conductivity in cup-stacked carbon nanotubes

Takuya Hayashi, Thomas C. O'Connor, Katsuhisa Higashiyama, Kohei Nishi, Kazunori Fujisawa, Hiroyuki Muramatsu, Yoong Ahm Kim, Bobby G. Sumpter, Vincent Meunier, Mauricio Terrones, Morinobu Endo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We have used in situ current-voltage measurements of cup-stacked carbon nanotubes (CSCNTs) to establish reversible strain induced (compressive bending) semiconducting to metallic behavior. The corresponding electrical resistance decreases by two orders of magnitude during the process, and reaches values comparable to those of highly crystalline multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and graphite. Joule heating experiments on the same CSCNTs showed that the edges of individual cups merge to form "loops" induced by the heating process. The resistance of these looped CSCNTs was close to that of highly deformed CSCNTs (and crystalline MWCNTs), thus suggesting that a similar conduction mechanism took place in both cases. Using a combination of molecular dynamics and first-principles calculations based on density functional theory, we conclude that an edge-to-edge interlayer transport mechanism results in conduction channels at the compressed side of the CSCNTs due to electronic density overlap between individual cups, thus making CSCNTs more conducting. This strain-induced CSCNT semiconductor to metal transition could potentially be applied to enable functional composite materials (e.g. mechanical sensors) with enhanced and tunable conducting properties upon compression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10212-10218
Number of pages7
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 7 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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