Posted: November 29, 2006

Researchers create ultradense carbon nanotube

(Nanowerk News) Researchers have succeeded in creating a carbon nanotube 20 times more densely packed than existing tubes, a discovery that could accelerate the practical application of nanotubes.
The carbon nanotube made by researchers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has over 99.9 percent carbon purity, is easy to process and is expected to be applied to long-duration high-performance batteries. Ultrafine carbon material has attracted attention as a material of the future.
The achievement by the team led by Kenji Hata was released Monday in the online version of the British science journal Nature Materials ("Shape-engineerable and highly densely packed single-walled carbon nanotubes and their application as super-capacitor electrodes").
The team focused on surface tensions made when drops of alcohol evaporate. They soaked carbon nanotubes with alcohol, dried them and confirmed the tubes had been drawn together by surface tension, becoming highly dense aggregates of high purity.
With existing technology, when carbon nanotubes are densely packed, their structure is destroyed. But with the new method, carbon nanotubes can be engineered into various shapes, such as needles and thin films, without destroying their strength or electrical characteristics.
Hata said with the new method, production costs are lowered to a fraction of the present level, and stable mass production is possible.
The team has named the new material "carbon nanotube solid."
Sumio Iijima, chief of the Research Center for Advanced Carbon Materials at the institute and discoverer of carbon nanotubes, said the new technology will lead to new developments and accelerate the practical application of carbon nanotubes.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun