Recent nanotechnology research has uncovered additional capabilities of carbon nanotubes used as acoustic speakers. Previously it was known that thin, flexible sheets of carbon nanotubes could produce sound when heated by the application of alternating current - a century-old phenomenon known as the thermoacoustic effect.
Now, researchers at UT Dallas have found that assemblies of carbon nanotubes can produce high-quality sound when struck (and heated) with laser light modulated in the audio frequency range. This opens up the possibility of wireless, laser-driven acoustic speakers that - being thin, light and almost transparent - could be attached to almost any surface, making it acoustically active.
In addition, nanotube sheets offer the possibility of performing noise canceling as well, using the same principles as current sound-canceling technologies. And all of this could be achieved "on very large scales," according to the researchers.
For more, see the article "The Sounds of Nanoscience" at UT Dallas. You can also access the paper "Sound of carbon nanotube assemblies" at the Journal of Applied Physics.
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