New carbon nanotube source relief for nanotech community
8 Jan 2020
A new method of producing carbon nanotubescould have solved a growing problem in the field of carbon nanotechnology.
A collaboration between scientists at Swansea University, scientists in the US and NoPo Nanotechnologies in India has demonstrated a new process and material design for a replacement for a standard method of nanotube production. A replacement sorely needed since the Carbon Center at Rice Universityin the US – the main source of carbon nanotube production according to a standard method – ceased production a few years ago.
Lead author of the study published in journal C,Dr Varun Shenoy Gangoli, said: "It is in the interest of all researchers to understand how the presently available product compares to historically available Rice materials that have been the subject of a great range of academic studies, and also to those searching for a commercial replacement to continue research and development in this field."
The original method used the high-pressure carbon monoxide (HiPco) gas-phase process developed by Nobel Laureate, Rick Smalley.However,the demise of the Carbon Center in the mid-2010s and the removal of the remaining HiPco samples to a third-party entity with no definite plans of further production meant that this existing source of nanotubes is no longer an option.
Analysis of the Rice "standard" and new commercial-scale samples show that back-to-back comparisons are possible between prior research and future applications, with the newer HiPco nanotubes from NoPo Nanotechnologies comparing very favourably to the older ones from Rice.
These findings will go some way to reassure researchers who might have been concerned that their work could not continue as high-quality nanotubes would no longer be readily available.
Professor Andrew Barron of Swansea University's Energy Safety Research Institute, the project lead, said: "Variability in carbon nanotube sources is known to be a significant issue when trying to compare research results from various groups.”