Controllable rotational inversion in nanostructures with dual chirality†
Chiral structures play an important role in natural sciences due to their great variety and potential applications. A perversion connecting two helices with opposite chirality creates a dual-chirality helical structure. In this paper, we develop a novel model to explore quantitatively the mechanical behavior of normal, binormal and transversely isotropic helical structures with dual chirality and apply these ideas to known nanostructures. It is found that both direction and amplitude of rotation can be finely controlled by designing the cross-sectional shape. A peculiar rotational inversion of overwinding followed by unwinding, observed in some gourd and cucumber tendril perversions, not only exists in transversely isotropic dual-chirality helical nanobelts, but also in the binormal/normal ones when the cross-sectional aspect ratio is close to 1. Beyond this rotational inversion region, the binormal and normal dual-chirality helical nanobelts exhibit a fixed directional rotation of unwinding and overwinding, respectively. Moreover, in the binormal case, the rotation of these helical nanobelts is nearly linear, which is promising as a possible design for linear-to-rotary motion converters. The present work suggests new designs for nanoscale devices.