Can you think of an electronic newspaper that you could just roll up and see it get updated in front of your eyes? It is an example of a technological revolution that has been pending to happen, with one exception for a major problem that till now researchers has not been able to rectify.
Scientists at McMaster University have removed all that obstacles by introducing a novel method to purify carbon nanotubes. “Once we have a trusted source of pure nanotubes that are not extremely costly, a lot can occur very swiftly,” says Alex Adronov, a lecturer of Chemistry at McMaster whose study panel has introduced a novel and cost-effective way to purify carbon nanotubes.
Figure 1: Researcher have found a solution to problem that has been holding them in technology revolution
Carbon nanotubes, which are hair-like elements that are one billionth of a metre in diameter but around thousands of time longer – are small, flexible and conductive nano-scale materials that are expected to bring a revolution in electronics and computers by substituting much bigger silicon based computer chips.
A big problem in the route of this novel discovery is however been untangling metallic as well as semiconducting carbon nanotubes, since both of them are generated simultaneously in the procedure of producing the microscopic structures, which mainly involves supplying heat to carbon-based gases till a point where they form a mixed cluster of nanotubes from impulsively as a black soot.
Only simple metallic or semiconducting carbon nanotubes are efficient in gadget applications, but effectively isolating them has seemed to be a big problem to combat. Even when the nanotube soot is grounded down, metallic and semiconducting nanotubes are linked together within each grain of powder. Both the components are highly valuable, but only when they are separated.
Scientists across the world have spent numerous years attempting to identify the efficient and effective techniques to isolate carbon nanotubes and disclose their value. While conventional scientists had generated polymer that could enable semiconducting carbon nanotubes to get dissolved and washed away, leaving metallic nanotubes behind, there was no such procedure for performing the opposite, diffusing the metallic nanotubes and leaving back the structures based on semiconducting materials.
Now the research team of Adronov has managed to transform the electronic features of a polymer known to dissolve semiconducting nanotubes – while leaving the other types of structures of polymers intact. By doing so, they have altered the procedure, leaving behind the semiconducting nanotubes while making it feasible to disperse the other types of metallic nanotubes.
Conclusion – The scientists performed closely with specialists and equipment from the Faculty of Engineering from McMaster and the Centre for Electron Microscopy from Canada, situated on the campus of University. “There are not much places in the world where you can perform such type of interdisciplinary work,” says Adronov. He confirms that thee next expected step for his team and other scientists would be to exploit the findings by identifying a way to generate even more powerful polymers and boost up the process for carrying the commercial production.