[Home]Carbon Nanotubes

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Carbon nanotubes are tiny carbon structures that have properties that make them potentially useful in nanotechnology. They exhibit unusual strength and unique electrical properties, and are extremely efficient conductors of heat.

A nanotube is a structure similar to a fullerene, only the carbon atoms are rolled into a cylinder instead of a sphere; each end is capped with half a fullerene molecule. They are only one nanometer wide (on the order of one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair), and their length can be millions of times greater than their width..

Nanotubes were first discovered in 1991 by [Sumio Iijima]?. It has since been discovered how nanotubes can be produced in large quantities.

Nanotubes can be opened and filled with materials such as biological molecules, raising the possibility of applications in biotechnology. They can be used to dissipate heat from tiny computer chips. The strength and flexibility of carbon nanotubes makes them of potential use in controling other nanoscale structures, which suggests they will have an important role in nanotechnology engineering.

One use for nanotubes that has already been developed is as extremely fine emitters, which could be used to produce high-brightness low-energy low-weight screens.

In April of 2001, IBM announced it had developed a technique for automatically developing pure semiconductor surfaces from nanotubes.

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Last edited August 9, 2001 3:43 am by Mike Dill (diff)