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Press Release 05-140

Carbon Nanotubes Made to Stick Like a Gecko's Foot

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Nanotubes in the artificial gecko foot.

In this scanning electron microscope image we see a side view of the artificial gecko foot at an early stage of preparation. Each of these densely packed fibers is actually a multiwalled carbon nanotube that has been grown on a polished silicon surface (below the frame) by standard techniques.

Credit: Betul Yurdumakan, University of Akron/Nachiket Raravikar, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


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A top view of the artificial gecko foot

In this scanning electron microscope image we see a top view of the completed artificial gecko foot, after the carpet of nanotubes has been embedded top to bottom in a layer of plastic and removed from the silicon substrate. The surface of the plastic has then been etched away to leave the top ends of the nanotubes free. The irregularity in the height of the tube-tips actually enhances their stickiness, since it helps them wiggle into microscopic bumps and pits and make very close contact with any surface they touch.

Credit: Betul Yurdumakan, University of Akron/Nachiket Raravikar, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (818 KB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.