Nanotechnology

Collage: Nanotechnology starting clockwise; Image1: Molecular Buckyball , Image 2: Nanocrystallites, Image 3: Nanotube Junction, Image 4: Miniature Gears

Caption: Starting clockwise, Image 1: Researchers from the University of California-Davis have created Sc3N@C78, a molecule that may have applications in batteries and microelectronic components, chemical sensors, and catalysts. Using crystal X-ray diffraction, the research team determined the structure of the molecule--a type of fullerene--that consists of a spherical carbon cage surrounding a triangular cluster of three scandium atoms with a nitrogen center. Fullerenes--commonly referred to as Buckyballs--are hollow, shell-like structures consisting of up to 80 carbon atoms bonded in pentagon rings. Sc3N@C78 is the only structure that researchers know contains an internal Sc3N group. The researchers used arc vaporization, a common technique for making Buckyballs, to create {Sc3N@C78}, along with the related structures {Sc3N@C80} and {Sc3N@C68}. Arc vaporization is a process by which electrically charged graphite rods touch and then separate, triggering an arc of electricity. The arc vaporizes the graphite, creating soot from which researchers filter out the fullerenes.

Image 2: Different shaped ZnO nanopillars can be obtained by varying the deposition conditions. This SEM photograph shows hexagonal ZnO nanocrystallites.
Image 3: A semiconducting metal junction formed from two carbon nanotubes. More about this Image A team led by Vincent Crespi, associate professor of physics, has simulated carbon nanotubes that are smaller and stronger than any other nanotube. Using supercomputers in California, Michigan, and Texas to model the electronic states and total energies of various carbon molecules, Crespi and his colleagues discovered a tetrahedral carbon atom that creates tight and stable bonds to form tiny tubes only six atoms across—the smallest diameter theoretically possible. Crespi believes they may prove very useful in nanotechnology applications.
Image 4: Micromechanics is one of the emerging technologies supported by NSF. These miniature gears, developed by researchers at AT&T Bell Laboratories, are about the size of a human hair and are driven by air forced through their ports. Many engineers and scientists think this miniature equipment promises to alter radically such areas as manufacturing process and medical practice.

Source: Image 1: Dr. Marilyn M. Olmstead from data in: Olmstead, M. M., de Bettencourt-Dias, A., Duchamp, J. C., Stevenson, S., Marciu, D., Dorn, H. C., and Balch, A. L. Isolation and Structural Characterization of the Endohedral Fullerene Sc3N@C78.

Image 2: Dr. Yicheng Lu, Dr. Sriram Muthukumar, and Dr. Nuri Emanetoglu, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rutgers University
Image 3: Vin Crespi, Penn State Physics
Image 4: AT&T Bell Labs

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