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News Release 08-217

Researchers Make Breakthrough in the Production of Double-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Northwestern University team develops new method to reliably produce and sort out double-walled carbon nanotubes; discovery could lower the cost of this dynamic material

Photo of Mark C. Hersam
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Interview with Mark C. Hersam of Northwestern University.


December 14, 2008

View an interview with Mark C. Hersam, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University.

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

In recent years, the possible applications for double-walled carbon nanotubes have excited scientists and engineers, particularly those working on developing renewable energy technologies. These tiny tubes, just two carbon atoms thick, are thin enough to be transparent, yet can still conduct electricity. This combination makes them well-suited for advanced solar panels, sensors and a host of other applications.

Up until now, the problem with double-walled carbon nanotubes has been being able to produce a homogeneous supply of them. When double-walled carbon nanotubes are synthesized, the process also creates many of the single- and multi-walled variety. Given their small size, sorting the valuable double-walled tubes from the other types has posed a real challenge.

In a paper published today in the online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, two researchers from Northwestern University outline a new process for efficiently gathering up these coveted double-walled carbon nanotubes. For more information on the team's work, go to http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2008/12/nanotube.html.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Dana W. Cruikshank, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email: dcruiksh@nsf.gov
Megan Fellman, Northwestern University, (847) 491-3115, email: fellman@northwestern.edu

Program Contacts
LaVerne D. Hess, NSF, (703) 292-4937, email: lhess@nsf.gov

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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