Owning to their unparalleled sensitivity resolution, nanomechanical resonators have excellent capabilities in design of nano-sensors for gas detection. The current challenge is to develop new designs of the resonators for differentiating distinct gas atoms with a recognizably high sensitivity. In this work, the characteristics of impulse wave propagation in carbon nanotube-based sensors are investigated using molecular dynamics simulations to provide a new method for detection of noble gases. A sensitivity index based on wave velocity shifts in a single-walled carbon nanotube, induced by surrounding gas atoms, is defined to explore the efficiency of the nano-sensor. The simulation results indicate that the nano-sensor is able to differentiate distinct noble gases at the same environmental temperature and pressure. The inertia and the strengthening effects by the gases on wave characteristics of carbon nanotubes are particularly discussed, and a continuum mechanics shell model is developed to interpret the effects.