Researchers demonstrate that the oxidative unzipping of MWCNTs is intercalation-driven, not oxidative chemical-bond cleavage as was formerly proposed. The unzipping mechanism involves three consecutive steps: intercalation-unzipping, oxidation, and exfoliation.
A time-resolved x-ray experiment elucidates that tiny atomic vibrations shift negative charges over a 1000 times larger distance between atoms and switch the macroscopic polarization on a time scale of a millionth of a millionth of a second.
Self-assembly is driven mainly by the system's desire to minimize its energy and achieve equilibrium, but kinetic effects can also play a strong role. Typically, these effects are viewed as complications to be overcome, but a collaboration of researchers has recently shown that these effects can be exploited to engineer a nanostructure in a polymer thin film.