The remarkable properties of carbon nanotubes may allow them to play a crucial role in the relentless drive towards miniaturization at the nanometre scale.
Nanotechnology is predicted to spark a series of industrial revolutions in the next two decades that will transform our lives to a far greater extent than silicon microelectronics did in the 20th century. Carbon nanotubes could play a pivotal role in this upcoming revolution if their remarkable electrical and mechanical properties can be exploited.
Since the first measurements were made in 1997, these rolled up sheets of graphite have captured the imagination of researchers around the world. Progress in understanding the basic physics and chemistry of nanotubes has advanced at a phenomenal rate â€œ and shows no signs of slowing.
Carbon nanotubes can be considered as a single sheet of graphite rolled in the form of a tube, though it is not actually made by rolling one. They were first observed by a Japanese scientist Sumio Iijima in the early part of the 1990â„¢s. The tubes that consist of a single layer of graphite is termed as ËœSingle walled nanotubesâ„¢ and the ËœMulti-walled tubes are those consisting of more than a single layer in the form of concentric cylinders.