Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are allotropes of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure. Nanotubes have been constructed with length-to-diameter ratio of up to 132,000,000:1, significantly larger than for any other material. These cylindrical carbon molecules have unusual properties, which are valuable for nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields of materials science and technology. In particular, owing to their extraordinary thermal conductivity and mechanical and electrical properties, carbon nanotubes find applications as additives to various structural materials.
—-Single-walled nanotubes are dropping precipitously in price, from around $1500 per gram as of 2000 to retail prices of around $50 per gram of as-produced 40–60% by weight SWNTs as of March 2010.
While we await large scale scientific enquiry into graphyne, believed by some to be the next super material beyond graphene, a big advance was reported Friday in a new way of making graphene carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes have the highest tensile strength of any material yet discovered, and in single walled and multi walled formats, represent one the fastest growing areas of materials research. Adding carbon nanotubes to photo voltaic solar cells was recently found to step up PV efficiency significantly as the PV cell was now able to capture the energy from the ultra violet light. Research is continuing into how best to maximise that effect. Below Friday’s article on the new method of making carbon nanotubes.
Novel Method to Make Nanomaterials Discovered
ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2012) — Researchers at the NanoScience Center of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and at Harvard University, US, have discovered a novel way to make nanomaterials. Using computer simulations, the researchers have been able to predict that long and narrow graphene nanoribbons can be rolled into carbon nanotubes by means of twisting. The research has received funding from the Academy of Finland.
The basic idea is simple and easily explained: just twist the ends of a strap on your backpack and watch what happens. Being classical in origin, the mechanism is robust and valid on the macro-, micro- and nanoscale.
The mechanism also enables experimental control, which has earlier been impossible. The mechanism can be used to make various kinds of novel carbon nanotubes, to encapsulate molecules insides the tubes, or to make tubules from ribbons made out of other planar nanomaterials.
In addition to helping improve solar cells, carbon nanotubes are under research for micro electrical wires and cables, for paper electrical batteries with super-capacitor properties, for super capacitors themselves, for stealth technology properties with the ability to hide planes and vessels from radars, for hydrogen storage tanks for hydrogen powered vehicles without the need to cool and condense the hydrogen to a liquid. And these are just some of the better known examples of research into carbon nanotubes. Long before graphyne makes it out of the labs, carbon nanotubes and graphene will have altered our lives in the way that the mobile phone released from dependence on landlines. In the way that Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone released us from telegrams and letters.
Physical Review B link.
CSC — IT Center for Science Ltd link.