Researchers from the University of Cambridge in England have found that
carbon nanotubes can be mixed with a solvent to form a liquid crystal.
Carbon nanotubes are rolled-up sheets of carbon atoms that can be as narrow
as 0.4 nanometers, or the span of four hydrogen atoms. They have useful
electrical and mechanical properties and are a leading player in
Liquid crystal forms an ordered structure like a crystal along one
dimension, but acts like a liquid in the other two.
The researchers' method opens the possibility of processing materials made
from carbon nanotubes in ways similar to those used for existing materials
like rigid chain polymers, or plastics. Carbon nanotubes may eventually
enable ultrasensitive sensors, super-dense computer memory, and
The researchers' method also provides a way to more closely examine the
structure of the liquid crystalline state. Liquid crystals are commonly used
in computer displays.
Nanotube liquid crystal could be used in practical applications in five
years, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the November 21,
2003 issue of Science.
Bubba Do Wah Ditty
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