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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 ?
Nanotubes have the frustrating habit of bundling, making them less useful than when they are separated in a solution.
In this new study, Chiara Zurzolo of the Institut Pasteur in Paris and her colleagues show how prion-infected immune cells, which can circulate in the blood from gut to brain, can form nanotube connections to brain cells.
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.
The light-emitting carbon nanotubes represent the first electrically controlled single-molecule light emitter ever constructed.
For one thing, it's very expensive to take carbon and create nanotubes.
Such 'beyond silicon' nanotube electronics may then lead to unimagined progress in computing miniaturization and power.
The chemist has even used the nanotubes to make lithium-ion batteries.
Market Analytics III-44Table 80: German Recent Past, Current & Future Analysis forCarbon Nanotubes by Product Segment - Single walled CarbonNanotube and Multi walled Carbon Nanotube MarketsIndependently Analyzed with Annual Sales Figures in US$Thousand for Years 2013 through 2020 (includes correspondingGraph/Chart) III-44
Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Scientists have long hoped to replace the silicon transistors in our computers with transistors based on carbon nanotubes, and now they have developed a method to control the nanotubes during production.
In an upcoming Nature Materials, researchers describe another way to smother plastic's fiery potential: Include a network of carbon nanotubes.
This new process gives us a practical way of making nanotube transistors, which is essential for future mass production.
Carbon nanotube structure, synthesis and applications