Spray-On Technique Could Bring Carbon Nanotubes to Retailers’ Shelves

Carbon nanotubes appear to be getting back some of their glory—after seemingly being eclipsed by graphene—with the news yesterday that an entire computer could be made from the material.  Now researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany are continuing the carbon nanotube comeback with a new, inexpensive process that promises to enable their use in a wide range of applications including electronic skin and sensors integrated into food packaging.

The process, which involves simply spraying the carbon nanotubes onto a flexible, plastic substrate, is described in the journal Carbon (“Fabrication of carbon nanotube thin films on flexible substrates by spray deposition and transfer printing”)

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New Form of Carbon from Boston College and Nagoya University

Nearly three decades ago, our understanding that there were three basic forms of carbon—diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon—was stood on its head with the introduction of fullerenes, then carbon nanotubes, and more recently graphene.

Now researchers at Boston College and Nagoya University have synthesized another new form of carbon unofficially dubbed “grossly warped nanographenes.” The research, which was published in the journal Nature Chemistry (“A grossly warped nanographene and the consequences of multiple odd-membered-ring defects”), has led to creating a material that is essentially defects in the two-dimensional hexagonal honeycomb-like arrangements of trigonal carbon atoms found in graphene. These defects consist of non-hexagonal rings that force distortions out of the two-dimensional plane.

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