From plastics to silicon to nanotubes? Study describes breakthrough in next-generation material
Move over, silicon. In a breakthrough in the quest for the next generation of computers and materials, researchers at USC have solved a longstanding challenge with carbon nanotubes: how to actually build them with specific, predictable atomic structures.
“We are solving a fundamental problem of the carbon nanotube,” said Chongwu Zhou, professor in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and corresponding author of the study published August 23 in the journal Nano Letters. “To be able to control the atomic structure, or chirality, of nanotubes has basically been our dream, a dream in the nanotube field.”
If this is an age built on silicon, then the next one may be built on carbon nanotubes, which have shown promise in everything from optics to energy storage to touch screens. Not only are nanotubes transparent, but this research discovery on how to control the atomic structure of nanotubes will pave the way for computers that are smaller, faster and more energy efficient than those reliant on silicon transistors.
“We are now working on scale up the process,” Zhou said. “Our method can revoutionize the field and significantly push forward the real applications of nanotube in many fields.”
Until now, scientists were unable to “grow” carbon nanotubes with specific attributes — say metallic rather than semiconducting — instead getting mixed, random batches and then sorting them. The sorting process also shortened the nanotubes significantly, making the material less practical for many applications.
For more than three years, the USC team has been working on the idea of using these short sorted nanotubes as “seeds” to grow longer nanotubes, extending them at high temperatures to get the desired atomic structure.
A paper last year by the same team in Nature Communications outlined the technique, and in the current Nano Letters paper, the researchers report on their latest major success: identifying the “growth recipes” for building carbon nanotubes with specific atomic structures.
“We identify the mechanisms required for mass amplification of nanotubes,” said co-lead author Jia Liu, a doctoral student in chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, recalling the moment when, alone in a dark room, she finally saw the spectral data supporting their method. “It was my Eureka moment.”
“To understand nanotube growth behaviors allows us to produce larger amounts of nanotubes and better control that growth,” she continued.
Each defined type of carbon nanotube has a frequency at which it expands and contracts. The researchers showed that the newly grown nanotubes had the same atomic structure by matching the Raman frequency.
“This is a very exciting field, and this was the most difficult problem,” said co-lead author Bilu Liu, a postdoctoral research associate at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. “I met Professor Zhou [senior author of the paper] at a conference and he said he wanted to tackle the challenge of controlling the atomic structure of nanotubes. That’s what brought me to his lab, because it was the biggest challenge.”
In addition, the study found that nanotubes with different structures also behave very differently during their growth, with some nanotube structures growing faster and others growing longer under certain conditions.
The Latest on: Carbon nanotubes
- TUBALL single wall carbon nanotubes: No ecotoxicity found, unlike other carbon nanotubes on October 12, 2018 at 6:50 pm
The range of applications of carbon nanotubes is continuing to increase rapidly and now extends far beyond only hi-tech products to include convenience goods. This has raised concerns about potential ... […]
- Graphene and Carbon Nanotube Launched by Creative Diagnostics for Bio-applications on October 12, 2018 at 10:35 am
With years of experience in the pharmaceutical and life science sector, Creative Diagnostics recently launches a series of high quality carbon nanomaterials, including graphene and carbon nanotube, as ... […]
- Determining catalytic active sites using carbon nanotubes on October 11, 2018 at 9:16 pm
Catalytic research led by University of Oklahoma researcher Steven Crossley has developed a new and more definitive way to determine the active site in a complex catalyst. Catalysts consisting of meta... […]
- EPA Publishes SNUR for Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes on October 10, 2018 at 4:23 pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on October 10, 2018, a direct final rule promulgating significant new use rules (SNUR) for 28 chemical substances, including single-walled carb... […]
- Catalytic active sites determined using carbon nanotubes on October 10, 2018 at 11:01 am
Catalytic research has developed a new and more definitive way to determine the active site in a complex catalyst. Catalytic research led by University of Oklahoma researcher Steven Crossley has devel... […]
- Researchers determine catalytic active sites using carbon nanotubes on October 10, 2018 at 7:20 am
Metals and metal oxides deposited on opposing ends of a carbon nanotube. a Schematic depicting a metal (red) capable of dissociating hydrogen (yellow) onto a carbon nanotube where hydrogen can ... […]
- OU researcher determines catalytic active sites using carbon nanotubes on October 10, 2018 at 6:34 am
NORMAN - Catalytic research led by University of Oklahoma researcher Steven Crossley has developed a new and more definitive way to determine the active site in a complex catalyst. His team's research ... […]
- The New Black: the Least Reflective Paint Ever on October 9, 2018 at 10:18 pm
Science, not magic Singularity Black is a formula built around carbon nanotubes, chemical structures 1/1,000 the width of a human hair. They’ve been used since the 1990s to improve the strength of pla... […]
- Carbon Nanotubes Market worth 8.70 Billion USD according to market forecasts 2022 on October 8, 2018 at 6:39 pm
[161 Pages Report] Carbon Nanotubes Market research report categorizes the global market by Application (Chemical & Polymers, Batteries & Capacitors, Energy, Medical Application, Advanced Materials, A... […]
- The NIOSH on 3D Printer Fumes and Health. Your Guide to 3D Printers and Health, Best Practices. on October 8, 2018 at 7:00 am
We were especially impressed with their thoughtful and thorough research on carbon nanotubes in 3D printer filaments. There is also a very informative post about 3D printers and safety on the ... […]
via Google News and Bing News