Calif. -– UC Irvine have announced that scientists
at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering have synthesized
the world's longest electrically conducting nanotubes.
These 0.4 cm nanotubes are 10 times longer than previously
created electrically conducting nanotubes. The breakthrough
discovery may lead to the development of extremely
strong, lightweight materials and ultradense nano-memory
arrays for extremely powerful computers, ultralow-loss
power transmission lines, and nano-biosensors for
use in health care applications
A nanotube is commonly made from carbon and consists
of a graphite sheet seamlessly wrapped into a cylinder
only a few nanometers wide. A nanometer is one billionth
of a meter, about the size of 10 atoms strung together.
Burke, assistant professor of electrical engineering
and computer science, conducted the research along
with graduate students Shengdong Li, Christopher Rutherglen
and Zhen Yu.
are extremely excited about this discovery,"
said Burke. "Recently there have been several
key advances around the world in synthesizing very
long carbon nanotubes. Our research has taken a significant
step forward by showing we can pass electricity through
these long nanotubes. Significantly, we have found
that our nanotubes have electrical properties superior
to copper. This clearly shows for the first time that
long nanotubes have outstanding electrical properties,
just like short ones."
grew the carbon nanotubes using a simple procedure:
Burke allowed natural gas to react chemically with
tiny iron particles or "nanoparticles" inside
a small furnace. By placing a small amount of gold
under the iron, Burke's group found that ultralong
nanotubes grow; whereas without the gold, only short
nanotubes grow. Because nanotubes are so small, it
is difficult to connect regular wires to them. Using
gold in the growth process, Burke solved this problem
by growing nanotubes that come out already attached
to gold wires. An added scientific benefit is that
Burke was able to accurately determine how the electrical
resistance of a nanotube depends on its length. The
relationship between resistance and physical size
(length) is a key property of any new material. Burke's
finding indicates that the electrical conductivity
is greater than for copper wires of the same size,
a world record for any nano-material of this length.
The findings are reported in the September issue of
Nano Letters, a peer-reviewed journal of the American
Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research,
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and
the National Science Foundation provided funding for
the research, which took place at UCI's Integrated
Nanosystems Research Facility in The Henry Samueli
School of Engineering.
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering: The Henry
Samueli School of Engineering numbers nearly 3,000
students and 95 faculty members across five academic
departments: biomedical engineering, chemical engineering
and materials science, civil and environmental engineering,
electrical engineering and computer science, and mechanical
and aerospace engineering. The school is home to numerous
research centers, including the Center for Pervasive
Communications and Computing, the Integrated Nanosystems
Research Facility, the National Fuel Cell Research
Center and the Center for Biomedical Engineering.
It is a major participant in the California Institute
for Telecommunications and Information Technology.
For more information, please visit www.eng.uci.edu.
the University of California, Irvine: The University
of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university
dedicated to research, scholarship and community service.
Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing
University of California campuses, with approximately
24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about
1,300 faculty members. The third-largest employer
in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual
economic impact of $3 billion.
University of California - Irvine