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A carbon molecule that resembles a cylinder made out of chicken wire one to two nanometers in diameter by any number of millimeters in length. Accidentally discovered by a Japanese researcher at NEC in 1990 while making Buckyballs, they have potential use in many applications. With a tensile strength 10 times greater than steel at about one quarter the weight, nanotubes are considered the strongest material for their weight known to mankind.

Myriad Applications
Currently used to strengthen plastics and carbon fibers, nanotubes have the potential for making ultra-strong fabrics as well as reinforcing structural materials in buildings, cars and airplanes. In the future, nanotubes may replace silicon in electronic circuits, and prototypes of elementary components have been developed. In 1998, IBM and NEC created nanotube transistors, and three years later, IBM created a NOT gate using two nanotube transistors. Nanotubes are already used as storage cells in Nantero's non-volatile memory chips (see NRAM), and they are expected to be used in the construction of sensors and display screens.

Single Walled and Multiwalled
Single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) use a single sheath of graphite one atom thick, called "graphene." Multiwalled nanotubes (MWNTs) are either wrapped into multiple layers like a parchment scroll or are constructed of multiple cylinders, one inside the other. See Buckyball, graphene, nanotechnology and NRAM.

The Chicken Wire Tube
At the molecular level, a single-walled carbon nanotube looks a lot like rolled up chicken wire with hexagonal cells. The number of applications that may ultimately benefit from carbon nanotubes is enormous.
References in periodicals archive ?
Comprehensive quantitative data and forecasts for the global carbon nanotubes market to 2025
The armchair quantum wire-a macroscopic cable of well-aligned metallic nanotubes-was envisioned by the late Richard Smalley, a Rice chemist who shared the Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the the family of molecules that includes the carbon nanotube.
Just as fast Internet connections spread computer viruses, tunneling nanotubes can carry dangerous cargo.
We're using an intrinsic property of nanotubes to develop a weapon that kills cancer.
Going forward, AIST will proceed with research to verify the optical functionality, safety and durability of carbon nanotubes encapsulating beta-carotene with a view to developing fading-resistant inks.
Many challenges remain before nanotubes can be used instead of silicon in computer chips," said Fuhrer.
The production technique is called vapor phase reaction, a process that will allow the factory to produce nanotubes at one-tenth of today's costs.
Carbon nanotubes are tube-shaped molecules that are 50,000 times thinner than the average human hair.
To address this need, small-angle x-ray scattering measurements on the NIST-responsible instrument at the Advanced Photon Source were used to interrogate the morphology of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) in suspension.
Zhou says there are a few ways to make carbon nanotubes.
Carbon nanotubes are now the top candidate to replace silicon when current chip features just can't be made any smaller, a physical barrier expected to occur in about 10 to 15 years," said Dr.
Meta-Nanotubes are a new generation of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) which result from the chemical transformation of regular CNTs and their subsequent combination with foreign materials (atoms, molecules, chemical groups, nanocrystals) by various ways such as functionalisation, doping, filling, and substitution.