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
- Global carbon capture potential for rare nanoparticleon March 24, 2020 at 7:55 am
"What is just hitting the headlines is the capture of CO 2 out of the atmosphere, there's a company in the United States experimenting and we believe they are using (manufactured) carbon nanotubes ...
- Author Correction: Carbon nanotubes promote cell migration in hydrogelson March 23, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Functionalized carbon nanotube-based composite hydrogels for vocal fold tissue engineering: Biocompatibility, rheology, and swelling, Materials Science and Engineering: C 109861 (2019). The correct ...
- New material developed could help clean energy revolutionon March 23, 2020 at 10:24 am
Researchers developed a promising graphene-carbon nanotube catalyst, giving them better control over hugely important chemical reactions for producing green technology and clean energy. Fuel cells and ...
- Clemson professor elected as materials research society fellowon March 23, 2020 at 8:49 am
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson University Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty member Apparao Rao was selected as a 2020 Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS) for developing liquid-based ...
- Wearable strain sensor using light transmittance helps measure physical signals betteron March 23, 2020 at 7:23 am
KAIST researchers have developed a novel wearable strain sensor based on the modulation of optical transmittance of a carbon nanotube (CNT)-embedded elastomer. The sensor is capable of sensitive, ...
- Europe Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Market will take the highest jump during 2020-2025on March 22, 2020 at 6:35 pm
The report Global Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Market analyzes the strategy patterns, and forecast in the coming years. The report evaluates the market size of the Global Single-Walled Carbon ...
- Europe Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) Market 2020 is Evolving Rapidly with Economic Growth, Demand, and Forthcoming Opportunitieson March 20, 2020 at 9:43 pm
The report Global Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) Market analyzes the strategy patterns, and forecast in the coming years. The report evaluates the market size of the Global Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) Market ...
- Europe Carbon Nanotubes Conductive Inks Market 2020 is Evolving Rapidly with Economic Growth, Demand, and Forthcoming Opportunitieson March 20, 2020 at 6:44 am
The report Global Carbon Nanotubes Conductive Inks Market analyzes the strategy patterns, and forecast in the coming years. The report evaluates the market size of the Global Carbon Nanotubes ...
- Nature-Inspired Green Energy Technology Clears Major Development Hurdleon March 19, 2020 at 8:04 am
That fuel is currently carbon monoxide, but the team is working toward making ... characterizing the ultrathin layers and making square-inch-sized arrays of hollow nanotubes.” Funding to support this ...
- Getting into the groove keeps nanotubes orderlyon March 17, 2020 at 5:16 am
New research may pave the way for using ultrathin carbon nanotube crystals for things like converting waste heat into electricity with near-perfect efficiency. The latest step continues a story that ...
via Google News and Bing News