Application of Carbon Nanotubes

Page 1 of 15

Application of Carbon Nanotubes

By | November 2012
Page 1 of 15
Applications of Carbon Nanotubes
Pulickel M. Ajayan1 and Otto Z. Zhou2
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Department of Materials Science and Engineering Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA Ajayan@rpi.edu Curriculum in Applied and Materials Sciences Department of Physics and Astronomy University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3255, USA Zhou@physics.unc.edu

Abstract. Carbon nanotubes have attracted the fancy of many scientists worldwide. The small dimensions, strength and the remarkable physical properties of these structures make them a very unique material with a whole range of promising applications. In this review we describe some of the important materials science applications of carbon nanotubes. Specifically we discuss the electronic and electrochemical applications of nanotubes, nanotubes as mechanical reinforcements in high performance composites, nanotube-based field emitters, and their use as nanoprobes in metrology and biological and chemical investigations, and as templates for the creation of other nanostructures. Electronic properties and device applications of nanotubes are treated elsewhere in the book. The challenges that ensue in realizing some of these applications are also discussed from the point of view of manufacturing, processing, and cost considerations.

The discovery of fullerenes [1] provided exciting insights into carbon nanostructures and how architectures built from sp2 carbon units based on simple geometrical principles can result in new symmetries and structures that have fascinating and useful properties. Carbon nanotubes represent the most striking example. About a decade after their discovery [2], the new knowledge available in this field indicates that nanotubes may be used in a number of practical applications. There have been great improvements in synthesis techniques, which can now produce reasonably pure nanotubes in gram quantities. Studies of structure–topology–property relations in nanotubes...