Underwater Thermoacoustic Generation by a Hierarchical Tetrapodal Carbon Nanotube Network

Na Liu, Lena Marie Saure, Rammohan Sriramdas, Fabian Schütt, Kai Wang, Amin Nozariasbmarz, Yu Zhang, Rainer Adelung, Ray H. Baughman, Shashank Priya, Wenjie Li, Bed Poudel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Solid-state fabricated carbon nanotube (CNT) sheets have shown promise as thermoacoustic (TA) sound generators, emitting tunable sound waves across a broad frequency spectrum (1-105 Hz) due to their ultralow specific heat capacity. However, their applications as underwater TA sound generators are limited by the reduced mechanical strength of CNT sheets in aqueous environments. In this study, we present a mechanically robust underwater TA device constructed from a three-dimensional (3D) tetrapodal assembly of carbon nanotubes (t-CNTs). These structures feature a high porosity (>99.9%) and a double-hollowed network of well-interconnected CNTs. We systematically explore the impact of different dimensions of t-CNTs and various annealing procedures on sound generation performance. Furnace-annealed t-CNTs, in contrast to directly resistive Joule heating annealing, provide superior, continuous, and homogeneous hydrophobicity across the surface of bulk t-CNTs. As a result, the t-CNTs-based underwater TA device demonstrates stable, smooth, and broad-spectrum sound generation within the frequency range of 1 × 102 to 1 × 104 Hz, along with a weak resonance response. Furthermore, these devices exhibit enhanced and more stable sound generation performance at nonresonance frequencies compared to regular CNT-based devices. This study contributes to advancing the development of underwater TA devices with characteristics such as being nonresonant, high-performing, flexible, elastically compressible, and reliable, enabling operation across a broad frequency range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8988-8995
Number of pages8
JournalACS nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 26 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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