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At Scotland's University of Edinburgh, researchers are developing a minuscule tube that can suck carbon dioxide out of the air. Each tube measures just 1 micrometer long by 1 nanometer in diameter, and a square meter of them could soak up as much carbon as 10 trees. Eleanor Campbell, the professor leading the research, says the nanotube technology can replicate nature's work: “In some ways,” she said in a press release , “the unit would work like an artificial tree.” In fact, it has some advantages over trees: Nanotubes don’t die, they don’t require particular soil chemistries, they’re not sensitive to cold snaps, they don’t get confused and start blooming in November if the thermometer rises above 60 degrees. Campbell suggests one “key advantage” of the nanotubes is that they can be used in urban areas, “where tree planting is not possible.” But trees process carbon dioxide, while nanotubes simply store it.
The smallest carbon-nanotube transistor ever made, a nine-nanometer device, performs better than any other transistor has at this size. For over a decade, researchers have promised that carbon nanotubes, with their superior electrical properties, would make for better transistors at ever-tinier sizes, but that claim hadn’t been tested in the lab at these extremes. Researchers at IBM who made the nanotube transistors say this is the first experimental evidence that any material is a viable potential replacement for silicon at a size smaller than 10 nanometers. “The results really highlight the value of nanotubes in the most sophisticated type of transistors,” says John Rogers , professor of materials science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “They suggest, very clearly, that nanotubes have the potential for doing something truly competitive with, or complementary to, silicon.”
9-nm CNT transistor with electron microscope images. Image credit: Franklin, et al. ©2012 American Chemical Society (PhysOrg.com) -- Engineers have built the first carbon nanotube (CNT) transistor with a channel length below 10 nm, a size that is considered a requirement for computing technology in the next decade.
Feb. 5, 2012 — At the nano level, researchers at Stanford have discovered a new way to weld together meshes of tiny wires. Their work could lead to innovative electronics and solar applications. To succeed, they called upon plasmonics. One area of intensive research at the nanoscale is the creation of electrically conductive meshes made of metal nanowires.
University of Dallas scientists have found a way to fashion carbon nanotubes, the same material used to improve displays and solar panels , into an invisibility cloak. Scientists discovered that if they heated the tubes underwater they could create a “mirage effect” to make objects completely disappear. It’s really that simple. All the scientists had to do was setup a sheet of one-molecule-thick carbon nanotubes sheets and apply an extreme amount of heat--we’re talking a maximum of 2,500 degrees Kelvin (2,300 degrees Celsius). No big deal, right? The carbon nanotube creates a mirage in the same way the beating sun on a hot summer day makes it look like the sky is part of the street.
Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology devised a method to use carbon nanotubes as a stitching material for composites. Because nanotubes could be made into some of the strongest known fibers, the technology should allow the development of new generation of medical prostheses and novel medical materials. Wardle wondered whether it would make sense to reinforce the plies in advanced composites with nanotubes aligned perpendicular to the carbon-fiber plies. Using computer models of how such a material would fracture, “we convinced ourselves that reinforcing with nanotubes should work far better than all other approaches,” Wardle said. His team went on to develop processing techniques for creating the nanotubes and for incorporating them into existing aerospace composites, work that was published last year in two separate journals. How does nanostitching work?
For the first time, researchers have made carbon-nanotube electrical cables that can carry as much current as copper wires. These nanotube cables could help carry more renewable power farther in the electrical grid, provide lightweight wiring for more-fuel-efficient vehicles and planes, and make connections in low-power computer chips. Researchers at Rice University have now demonstrated carbon-nanotube cables in a practical system and are designing a manufacturing line for commercial production. Making lightweight, efficient carbon nanotube wiring as conductive as copper has been a goal of nanotechnologists since the 1980s. Individual carbon nanotubes—hollow nanoscale tubes of pure carbon—are mechanically strong and an order of magnitude more conductive than copper.
Perfect nanotubes shine brightest: Researchers show how length, imperfections affect carbon nanotube fluorescenceJan. 31, 2012 — A painstaking study by Rice University has brought a wealth of new information about single-walled carbon nanotubes through analysis of their fluorescence. The current issue of the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano features an article about work by the Rice lab of chemist Bruce Weisman to understand how the lengths and imperfections of individual nanotubes affect their fluorescence -- in this case, the light they emit at near-infrared wavelengths. The researchers found that the brightest nanotubes of the same length show consistent fluorescence intensity, and the longer the tube, the brighter.
By learning to grow and measure single nanotubes, scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory were able to confirm a theory by Rice Professor Boris Yakobson that predicted the chirality of a nanotube - its "DNA code" - controls the speed of its growth. (Credit: Rahul Rao/Air Force Research Laboratory) (PhysOrg.com) -- The Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, has experimentally confirmed a theory by Rice University Professor Boris Yakobson that foretold a pair of interesting properties about nanotube growth: That the chirality of a nanotube controls the speed of its growth, and that armchair nanotubes should grow the fastest. The work is a sure step toward defining all the mysteries inherent in what Yakobson calls the " DNA code of nanotubes ," the parameters that determine their chirality -- or angle of growth -- and thus their electrical, optical and mechanical properties .