Navigation Links
Researchers figure out how to 'grow' carbon nanotubes with specific atomic structures

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.

"Previously it was very difficult to control the chirality, or atomic structure, of nanotubes, particularly when using metal nanoparticles," Bilu Liu said. "The structures may look quite similar, but the properties are very different. In this paper we decode the atomic structure of nanotubes and show how to control precisely that atomic structure."


Contact: Suzanne Wu
University of Southern California

Related biology technology :

1. Opertech Bio Researchers Develop Method For High-Throughput Taste Evaluation
2. Sarcoma Alliance Announces Tissue Bank to Help Researchers
3. BioInformatics LLC—New Report Finds High Degree of Satisfaction With Instrumentation Performance Among Researchers
4. York Nanocentre researchers image individual atoms in a living catalytic reaction
5. Medrio, a Leading EDC Provider for Clinical Research, Announces Its Latest Version, 8.1 with iPad Support, is Available Without Charge for Academic Researchers
6. Researchers strike gold with nanotech vaccine
7. US and Canadian researchers drive towards cheaper fuel cells for electric cars
8. UCSB researchers identify the mechanisms underlying salt-mediated behaviors in fruit flies
9. UC Irvine researchers unveil AsterixDB for Big Data management
10. Spanish researchers writing in cell describe the 9 hallmarks of aging
11. Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc.s new Diabetes Prevention & Management Panel incorporates discovery from Metabolon researchers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic ... sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by ... tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has already ... therapeutics in multiple cancer types. Over ... DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a ... eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research ... by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... - FACIT has announced the creation of a ... Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), to ... of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of ... an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential ... patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is ... has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval ... Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/24/2016)... facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the medical imaging ... product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. Photo ... ... ... News ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... DALLAS , May 12, 2016 ... has just published the overview results from the Q1 ... of the recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a ... wearables data with a health insurance company. ... choose to share," says Michael LaColla , CEO ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), ... a global partnership that will provide end customers ... mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... innovation area for financial services, but it also plays a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):