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Tie a knot in a nanotube

发布时间:2019-03-08 06:17:08来源:未知点击:

By Lila Guterman MICROCHIPS can incorporate capacitors and resistors, but not inductors, the third type of passive component needed to build an electronic circuit. Now this might be about to change, a conference on Molecular Nano-technology in Santa Clara, California, was told last week by researchers who have learnt how to manipulate carbon nanotubes —the long, thin relatives of buckyballs. Researchers at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri decided to test how the nanotubes’ strength and electronic properties change when they are lifted off the surface. The team had to work out how to “dip down into a sample of nanotubes and pull one out,” says Rodney Ruoff, a chemist at the university. Attraction between the multi-walled nanotube and the tip of an atomic force microscope was the answer, says Ruoff, making it possible to move the tube, measure its properties and even attach it to another tube using a hydrocarbon gas to fuse them together. The researchers now hope to refine the technique, so that they can tie nano-tubes into a knot, weave them together or wrap one around a small cylindrical post. “We might make the world’s tiniest inductor, a coil with electricity running through it,