Researchers at UCSD have made carbon nanotubes bent in sharp predetermined angles, a technical advance that could lead to use of the long, thin cylinders of carbon as tiny springs, tips for atomic force microscopes, smaller electrical connectors in integrated circuits, and in many other nanotechnology applications. In a paper published in the April 7, 2005, issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Sungho Jin, a professor of materials science at UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering, reported a technique to create bent nanotubes by manipulating the electric field during their growth and adjusting other conditions.
"Controlling nanotube geometry is necessary to realize the many promised applications of these materials," said Jin, a professor in the Jacobs School’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “Our new results show that we have taken a step toward understanding how to shape nanotubes to our specifications, an achievement that could greatly enhance their value to society.”
Joseph AuBuchon, a graduate student in Jin’s group, exploited the strong alignment of nanotube growth with the direction of electric field lines. After growing an aligned array of straight nanotubes, AuBuchon switched the orientation of electric field lines 90 degrees to make L-shaped tubes. He then made more orientation changes to make zigzags. AuBuchon won a Gold Graduate Student Award and Best Poster Award for presenting details of his nanotube research at the spring 2005 meeting of the Materials Research Society, which was held March 28‑April 1 in San Francisco.
Rex Graham | EurekAlert!
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