Advantages of Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon Nanotubes (or buckypaper) are one of the most promising new materials of our time. The amazing properties of these extremely thin cylinders of carbon offer the possibility for an entirely new type of material, a fusion of health science and high technology that seems long overdue. The mechanical strength, electrical conductivity and chemical makeup of the carbon nanotube offers a promising future for a wide variety of applications.
Pristine carbon nanotubes are inert to most chemicals but can be grafted with surface functional groups to increase their chemical reactivity. This feature along with their extraordinarily large surface area provides them with the ability to attach essentially any chemical species to their sidewalls, and in this way they serve as unique catalyst supports. Their high current-carrying capacity also makes them excellent candidates for electron field emitters, as their sharp tips can focus electric fields with ease.
One of the most intriguing applications of CNTs is in lithium-ion batteries, where they can help to double or even triple the lifetime of conventional lithium-ion cells. They are also useful for white light sources, hydrogen storage cells and cathode ray tubes, as well as in electronic devices such as transistors.
Another of the most significant advantages of carbon nanotubes is that they can be grown on a substrate using various techniques such as arc discharge, laser ablation and chemical vapor deposition. In addition, they can be aligned vertically to form a patterned array with a degree of control over the height, diameter and density of each individual tube.