Science News

The Nano Piano

Sun, 26th Nov 2006

Part of the show Repairing the Retina and Spinal Cord

Could nano-music be on the way? Probably not, but scientists at Delft University in the Netherlands have successfully made and tuned the world's smallest piano wire. The wire is made of tiny carbon nanotubes, just 2 nanometers in diameter and one micrometer long. That's just two millionths of a millimetre by a thousandth of a millimetre. The team attached the wires to electrodes and placed on a layer of silicon. They then passed an electrical current through the silicon, which makes the nanowires vibrate. By changing the current, the team could effectively "tune" the wire, like tightening a piano or guitar string to tune it. Sadly, the team aren't planning to build the world's tiniest violin, or make a very baby grand piano. The tuning technology could be used for nanosensors, to weigh tiny particles like viruses based on the way they affect the vibrations.


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