Make way for the real nanopod and make room in the Guinness World Records. A team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley have created the first fully functional radio from a single carbon nanotube, which makes it by several orders of magnitude the smallest radio ever made.
“A single carbon nanotube molecule serves simultaneously as all essential components of a radio — antenna, tunable band-pass filter, amplifier, and demodulator,” said physicist Alex Zettl, who led the invention of the nanotube radio. “Using carrier waves in the commercially relevant 40-400 MHz range and both frequency and amplitude modulation (FM and AM), we were able to demonstrate successful music and voice reception.”
This QuickTime video was recorded on the nanotube radio using a Transmission Electron Microscope. At the beginning of the video, the nanotube radio is tuned to a different frequency than that of the transmitted radio signal so the nanotube does not vibrate and only static noise can be heard. As the radio is brought into tune with the transmitted signal, the nanotube begins to vibrate, which blurs its image in the video but allows the music to become audible. The song is the theme music to Star Wars by John Williams. To see and hear the nanotube radio, click on the image.