Volume 77, Number 2, January 2007
Article Number 27006
Number of page(s) 5
Section Condensed Matter: Electronic Structure, Electrical, Magnetic and Optical Properties
Published online 18 January 2007
EPL, 77 (2007) 27006
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/77/27006

Helicity and broken symmetry of DNA-nanotube hybrids

V. I. Puller1 and S. V. Rotkin1, 2

1  Physics Department, Lehigh University - 16 Memorial E Dr., Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA
2  Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Lehigh University - 5 E.Packer Ave., Bethlehem PA 18015, USA

received 28 September 2006; accepted in final form 23 November 2006; published January 2007
published online 18 January 2007

We study breaking of the "supersymmetry" of an intrinsically achiral armchair carbon nanotube by means of a helical perturbation. Lowering of the symmetry results in the appearance of a non-zero effective mass for nanotube low-energy excitations, which otherwise are massless Dirac fermions. Other important consequences of the symmetry breaking are opening of gaps in the energy spectrum and shifting of the Fermi points, which we classify according to their functional dependence on the nanotube and helix parameters. Within each class the gaps are proportional to the inverse of the nanotube radius, and appear to be sensitive to the exact position of the helix in a unit cell. These results are of immediate importance for the study of DNA-nanotube complexes, and can be verified by means of optical/electron spectroscopy or tunneling microscopy.

73.22.-f - Electronic structure of nanoscale materials: clusters, nanoparticles, nanotubes, and nanocrystals.
87.14.Gg - DNA, RNA .
03.65.Pm - Relativistic wave equations .

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007