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Spin control: New technique sorts nanotubes by length
Date:5/16/2008

heet) by spinning them in a dense fluid in an ultracentrifuge tube because of a relationship between chirality and buoyancy. In this new work, a team of NIST researchers demonstrated that a variation of the same technique can separate nanotubes by length. They showed that while the nanotubes ultimately will move to a point of equilibrium in the centrifuge tube dictated by their buoyancy, due to friction they will move at different rates depending on their lengths.

When we spin the centrifuge, it turns out that the longer ones move faster. We basically just run a race and the longer ones move farther in the same amount of time, says researcher Jeffrey Fagan, Eventually they get separated enough in position that we can just pull off layers and get different lengths.

Whats particularly exciting, they say, is that while other techniques have been shown to sort nanotubes by length, this is the first approach that could be scaled up to produce commercially important quantities of nanotubes in a given length range. The process also removes much of unwanted junkparticularly metal particlesfrom the batch. NIST has applied for a patent on the process.


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Contact: Michael Baum
michael.baum@nist.gov
301-975-2763
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert  

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