Skip to main content
Cornell University
LASSP -  Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics

Cornell Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics

Paul McEuen Plays Cornell Alma Mater on Nano-Sized Guitar

“We were the first to make a vibrating one-atom-thick graphene sheet that was, in essence, a drum,” McEuen says. “We also made the world’s first nanotube guitar. We used a nanotube as a guitar string and plucked it to make it vibrate.” Since the nanotube guitar string vibrates at megahertz frequencies—much higher than the human ear can hear—the researchers had to figure out how to measure it. They reported their results in a paper forthcoming in the journal Nature. “We not only heard it,” McEuen says with satisfaction, “but we played the Cornell alma mater on it.”

For McEuen, playing a tune on a guitar string the width of a strand of DNA is par for the course. He made his reputation manipulating graphene sheets, carbon nanotubes, and other materials, creating some of the smallest electronic or mechanical systems ever invented.

Read More