3 Futuristic Uses of Carbon Nanotubes

3 Futuristic Uses of Carbon Nanotubes

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Carbon nanotubes are currently revolutionizing many fields including nanotechnology, personalized electronic wearables, optics, electronics and other fields of materials science and technology because of their unique framework and properties. Carbon nanotubes have a long, narrow structure with walls which are formed by one-atom-thick sheets of carbon, called graphene. They are nearly the thinnest tubes that can be fashioned from nature. They have unusual thermal, mechanical and electrical properties which make them ideal for a wide variety of applications.

Flexible Electronics

A race is underway to create flexible, bendable electronics with carbon nanotubes that could eventually replace current electronics which are made with more brittle materials. Many researchers all over the world are experimenting with various methods to develop carbon nanotubes for mass production. There are a few problems that prevent the widespread adoption of carbon nanotubes: it’s not cost-effective to manufacture highly pure tubes and they are not packed densely enough onto the substrate.

Two researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Gopalan and Arnold, have pioneered a newly-improved carbon nanotube development technique called floating evaporative self-assembly, or FESA. This technique solves a packing density problem that has prevented the widespread adoption of carbon nanotubes in flexible electronics. The team is currently working with companies to accelerate the adoption of this technology. Many other researchers have made other breakthroughs as well.

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