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NASA technology forms the basis for a new nanotechnology company
Date:9/4/2007

GREENBELT, Md. - A NASA-developed innovative process is making waves in the nanotechnology field and spurring the development of new companies in the process. A new company based in Austin, Texas, Nanotailor, has licensed NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's unique single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) fabrication process with plans to make high-quality, low-cost SWCNTs available commercially.

Potential markets for the technology are vast and include medical, construction, manufacturing, and imaging, to name just a few. The license provides Nanotailor a springboard from which to grow its business, while helping to make affordable nanotechnology available to a broad range of industries.

One of the basic nanotechnology structures, a carbon nanotube is a graphite sheet one atomic layer thick of carbon that is wrapped on itself to create an extraordinarily thin, strong tube. Although carbon nanotubes were discovered more than 15 years ago, their use has been limited due to the complex, dangerous, and expensive methods for their production.

This unwieldy process has made SWCNTs cost-prohibitive up until now. "The nanotech industry is growing by more than 40 percent a year, but multi-walled carbon nanotubes have been the primary technology used. Single-walled technology just hasnt taken off because of the cost," notes Nanotailor president Ramon Perales. "If we can get the cost down, we can be a step ahead and make higher quality nanotechnology more affordable."

NASA Goddard, located in Greenbelt, Md. is helping nanotechnology companies like Nanotailor do just that through a simpler, safer, and much less costly manufacturing process for SWCNTs. Developed by retired GSFC researcher Dr. Jeannette Benavides, the key to the innovation is the ability to produce bundles of SWCNTs without using a metal catalyst, dramatically reducing pre- and post-production costs while generating higher yields of better quality product. Other start-up com
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Contact: Rob Gutro
Robert.J.Gutro@nasa.gov
301-286-4044
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert

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