Carbon Nanotubes Immersed in Superfluid Helium: The Impact of Quantum Confinement on Wetting and Capillary Action

Andreas Hauser, María Pilar De Lara-Castells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


A recent experimental study [ Ohba, Sci. Rep. 2016, 6, 28992 ] of gas adsorption on single-walled carbon nanotubes at temperatures between 2 and 5 K reported a quenched propagation of helium through carbon nanotubes with diameters below 7 Å despite the small kinetic diameter of helium atoms. After assessing the performance of a potential model for the He-nanotube interaction via ab initio calculations with density functional theory-based symmetry adapted perturbation theory, we apply orbital-free helium density functional theory to show that the counterintuitive experimental result is a consequence of the exceptionally high zero-point energy of helium and its tendency to form spatially separated layers of helium upon adsorption at the lowest temperatures. Helium filling factors are derived for a series of carbon nanotubes and compared to the available experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4929-4935
Number of pages7
JournalThe journal of physical chemistry letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

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