Oct 222010

3D nanotube structures

Carbon nanotubes, despite all the technological advances they’re making possible, look pretty boring.

When viewed though a microscope, they are, essentially, just straight tubes. Now scientists from the University of Michigan have used a process called “capillary forming” to create nanotubes that resemble twisting spires, concentric rings, and bending petals. It’s not about aesthetics though, giving nanotubes complex 3D shapes is seen as an important breakthrough in the development of microdevices and nanomaterials.

“It’s easy to make carbon nanotubes straight and vertical like buildings,” said U Michigan mechanical engineer Prof. A. John Hart. “It hasn’t been possible to make them into more complex shapes. Assembling nanostructures into three-dimensional shapes is one of the major goals of nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing. The method of capillary forming could be applied to many types of nanotubes and nanowires, and its scalability is very attractive for manufacturing.”

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