Advanced Nanotech funds controlled-chirality growth of carbon nanotubes

Published 15 December 2005

You may not have lost any sleep over the effects of chirality in producing carbon nanotubes, but it is an important issue; now a leading financier of nanotechnology research is funding research into how to solve the problem

New York-based Advance Nanotech (OTC BB: AVNA.OB), the leading provider of financing and support services aiming to drive the commercialization of nanotechnology discoveries, is providing financing for epi-CNT, a new research project based out of the Center for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE) at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The epi-CNT project (short for epitaxial growth of carbon nanotubes) will explore the development of a new inexpensive and precise method for the controlled growth of single wall carbon nanotubes. This is important, as carbon nanotubes are vital to the advancement of nanotechnology owing to their extreme electronic, optical, and mechanical properties. Nanotubes play a key role in a variety of materials-based research projects ranging from space elevators to artificial muscles to ultrahigh-speed flywheels. Nanotubes are versatile: Single walled carbon nanotubes can be insulating, semiconducting, or metallic depending on growth conditions. This wide range of physical properties allows for many electronic, optical, and material applications, including transistors, interconnects in integrated circuits, and components for optical networks.

As we said above, single-walled carbon nanotubes can be either semi-conducting or metallic, depending on their twist angle or “chirality.” Most electronic and optical applications (for example, transistors, interconnects) need either semi-conducting or metallic tubes, but not both. Current growth methods produce a mixture of both semi-conducting and metallic tubes, thus requiring scientists to invest time, effort, and money separating the different types of nanotubes before they can be used. The epi-CNT project will develop catalysts that will try to control the chirality during the growth process, resulting in the growth of a single type of nanotube (either semi-conducting or metallic).

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