The authors investigate the thermally driven mass transport of gold nanoparticles confined inside carbon nanotubes using molecular dynamics simulations. The observed thermophoretic motion of the gold nanoparticles correlates with the phonon dispersion exhibited by a standard carbon nanotube and, in particular, with the breathing mode of the tube. Additionally, the results show an increased static friction for gold nanoparticles confines inside a zig-zag carbon nanotube when increasing the size length of the nanoparticles. However, an unexpected, opposite trend is observed for the same nanoparticles inside armchair tubes. © 2007 American Institute of Physics.
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