Nanotubes are the poster children of the nanotechnology revolution. These tiny carbon tubes – less than 1/50,000 the diameter of a human hair – possess novel properties that have researchers excitedly exploring dozens of potential applications ranging from transistors to space elevators.
Nanotubes also produce light with a number of interesting properties, which have led researchers to propose various optical applications. One of the most promising is to use the tiny tubes as fluorescent markers to study biological systems, a role pioneered by fluorescent proteins. But there has been one primary problem: Nanotubes have proven to be very inefficient phosphors, absorbing a thousand photons for every photon that they emit (a ratio called quantum efficiency).
Now, however, the latest research into nanotube luminescence has found that there is substantial room for increasing the efficiency of these infinitesimal light sources: The study, which is the first to measure the luminescence of single nanotubes, was published in the Nov. 4 issue of Physical Review Letters and reports that there is a surprising amount of variation between the quantum efficiencies of the 15 individual nanotubes that were examined.
David F. Salisbury | Vanderbilt University
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The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
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