Nanotubes on the Straight and Narrow
April 24, 2008 3:12 PM
comment(s) - last by
Duke scientists grow the longest, straightest carbon nanotube carpet yet.
One can barely hit a science or tech oriented website without seeing the words “carbon nanotube” somewhere on the first page. Indeed, with the ever-increasing promise of incredible technology being spawned from the simple carbon molecules, the praise they receive is well-deserved. However, where it concerns electronics, especially in the form of integrated circuits, CNTs are still mostly just a theory. While they have been shown to have superior
electrical properties to copper and silicon
, growing them in a manner useful to the microelectronics industry has proved difficult.
As far back as 2000, scientists have been growing the curious CNT using a variety of methods. Earlier this year,
reported on a new method
for growing fields of CNTs which held promise. Now, a team at Duke University under the guidance of professor Jie Liu, has improved upon other past methods, utilizing quartz crystal to grow the longest and straightest CNT forest to date.
To be useful as electron carriers for microchips and other micro-electronic devices, CNTs would have to be both long enough to carry the signal, and straight enough to move it to where it wants to go. Previous methods for growing CNT bundles have been less than desirable because the tubes themselves tend to overlap and criss-cross as their length grows. Keeping them uniform is the key to success.
The Duke process uses stable temperature cut quartz crystal wafers, which are used in several mundane electronics applications. Using gasified alcohol to supply the carbon atoms and a lithography process that makes tracks of copper, which is used as the growth catalyst, the CNTs follow the crystalline orientation of the wafer, growing perfectly straight tubes along the crystal.
Though other groups have been able to create groups of tubes much more dense using similar processes with quartz and sapphire, even as dense as 50 tubes per micron (one millionth of a meter), such high density bundles are less than ideal for electronics as they are not able to maintain a uniform growth pattern. The Duke process is thought to produce the highest density of aligned single-wall nanotubes to date.
Though it may be a slow one, the move from silicon-based to carbon-based electronics almost seems inevitable as more and more research goes into and discoveries come out of carbon and its many available pure and designer forms and compounds. While silicon probably won't vanish any time soon and still holds potential as miniaturization processes continue to be refined, there is evidence that its near five decade reign over the electronics industry may be coming to an end.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/24/2008 4:13:16 PM
My very first thought to the opening paragraph.
"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
Interconnects of the Future: Copper vs. Carbon
March 17, 2008, 12:06 AM
Scientists Develop Ingenious Method for Nanotube Alignment
January 25, 2008, 10:46 AM
Latest By Levi Beckerson
Of Turbines Large And Small
May 24, 2011, 9:07 AM
Various Alcohols Shown To Make Various Improvements on Specific Superconductor
January 11, 2011, 8:32 AM
Genetics and Taste Buds; Can Science Build Better Chocolate?
December 27, 2010, 9:01 AM
New UMass Technique Seeks to Replace Petroleum for Industrial Chemicals
November 26, 2010, 7:26 AM
New MIT Nanotech Fights Cancer Naturally
September 20, 2010, 8:30 AM
Genetic Modification Turns Killers Into Saviors
September 16, 2010, 1:13 PM
New Rensselaer Nanocomposite Kills Staph
August 17, 2010, 8:10 AM
Researchers Create Nanoscale Particles For Ultrasound Applications
August 16, 2010, 3:44 PM
NCSU Study To Help Understand Nanoparticles Inside the Body
August 16, 2010, 8:38 AM
New Lithium Metal Phosphate Batteries Made With Wax and Soap
August 13, 2010, 1:10 PM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information