The researchers have shown that individual carbon nanotubes can act as a separation channel that would force two differing molecules to separate as easily as oil and water.
For example, the molecules that comprise two chemically distinct liquids will interact differently with the walls of the nanotube as the liquids flow through it. This will cause one of the liquids to drain through the nanoscale straw faster than the other, thus forcing a separation between the two liquids.This technology could prove useful in a number of applications, including forensic studies with very small sample sizes and studying molecules extracted from individual cells. Forensic experts would be able to analyze trace evidence, even down to a single cell or invisible stains.
Continued nanotube research by Drexel engineers will examine the development of electrochemical and optical tools. The full text of the report can be viewed here.
News Media ContactBritt Faulstick
Britt Faulstick | EurekAlert!
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