Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Camera Flash Prompts Carbon Nanotube Combustion

30.04.2002


Image: © Science


It sounds like a photographer’s worst nightmare: the light of the flashbulb causes the subject of the photo to burst into flames. But that’s exactly what happened recently when researchers snapped a picture of some single-walled carbon nanotubes, tiny cylinders of pure carbon. The findings, described in a report published in the current issue of the journal Science, suggest that the minute straws could be used as triggering devices or for remote light-induced ignition.

The discovery was made by accident, when an undergraduate in Pulickel Ajayan’s laboratory at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute took some flash photographs as part of a different research project. "The single-walled carbon nanotube samples in this situation were just a jumble of tubes," Ajayan recalls. "They were not laid out in any pattern, and because of that, the heat generated from the flash could not dissipate, so the nanotubes just burned." Ajayan and his colleagues note in their report that only single-walled carbon nanotubes react to flash light in this explosive manner, emitting a loud pop before igniting [see image]. Because extensive rearrangement of the carbon atoms occurs, the scientists estimate that the tubes reach temperatures of nearly 1,500 degrees Celsius. Interestingly, if the single-walled straws are exposed to a camera flash in an environment devoid of oxygen, they do not burn, but their atomic structure is still altered.

The work adds to the ever growing list of unique characteristics of the tiny carbon cylinders. Their fortuitous discovery has not yet been put to work, but study co-author Ganapathiraman Ramanath of Rensselaer has plenty of ideas. "From an applications perspective, our work opens up exciting possibilities of using low-power light sources to create new forms of nanomaterials," he says, "and will serve as a starting point for developing nanotube-based actuators and sensors that rely on remote activation and triggering."


Sarah Graham | Scientific American

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials
17.01.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes

nachricht Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume
15.01.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>