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Science Technology

Diamond Nanotubes Created 129

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the work-faster-to-get-my-space-elevator dept.
raxxy writes to tell us that researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne Nation Laboratory have taken the next step in nano development. Combining the process for 'growing' diamonds and the latest in carbon nanotubes has given birth to a diamond-nanotube composite. From the article: "Diamond has its drawbacks, however. Diamond is a brittle material and is normally not electrically conducting. Nanotubes, on the other hand, are incredibly strong and are also great electrical conductors, but harnessing these attributes into real materials has proved elusive. By integrating these two novel forms of carbon together at the nanoscale a new material is produced that combines the material properties of both diamond and nanotubes."
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Diamond Nanotubes Created

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  • by Poromenos1 (830658) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:32PM (#13473305) Homepage
    Can this be used in the space elevator? Tensile pressure and all?
    • Well if this is the same material that was reported about a week ago everywhere else (and probably /.) [slashdot.org] it's not strong enough for the space elevator (Aggregated diamond nanorods have a modulus of 491 gigapascals (GPa), compared with 442 GPa for conventional diamond.)
    • Just to give some background on what this is all about, here's an article on their predecessors, carbon nanotubes [wikipedia.org]. Remember diamond is just a carbon matrix in a particular arrangement. Carbon nanotubes form sp2 bonds; presumably these diamond nanotubes form sp3 bonds, although it's not clear to me how you'd create a tube with that geometry.
    • Why not just use nanotubes? They have enough tensile strength, at least.
    • Space elevator (Score:1, Flamebait)

      The space elevator is a fantasy. Theoretically possible some day, but the technical hurdles combined with the inherent drawbacks of the technology mean it will NEVER be put into practice... at least not on Earth.

      Now, all this nanotechnology WILL likely translate into stronger, lighter, more durable space craft. If the production methods can bring nanotechnology to a reasonable price, then, some day, my grandkids might get to buy a ticket to Mars.

      Nanotechnology will never give us the space elvator, even if i
      • Now, all this nanotechnology WILL likely translate into stronger, lighter, more durable space craft.

        Unless you can make fuel from nanotubes this is bullshit as the main weight of a spacecraft is the fuel and even though the other 5-10% or so might be reduced by the use of lighter materials this won't help us to improve the performance of current spacecrafts by orders of magnitude (which would be necessary to allow spaceflight for normal everyday people like flight is today).

        • Not neccesarily.

          I'm not siding with the grandparent's gloom & doom outlook on elevators, just pointing out that elevator-worthy material *might* reduce launch costs by an order of magnitude for conventional rocketry with some conceptual modifications -

          chucking a rocket into orbit requires it to have two things -
          a. Mass to dispose of (m1v1 + m2v2 = MV)
          b. Energy, to be translated into the kinetic energy of the mass being disposed.

          Now, let's give conventional launch the same available technology as the ent
      • It's the same as any high risk high cost project, you just gotta find the right sucker, err, investor. Look at the launch loop. Could be done with today's technology (in fact, 20 year old technology) and needs no major breakthroughs.. so where is it? On the drawing board.
      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Saturday September 03, 2005 @10:10PM (#13473922) Homepage Journal
        The space elevator is a fantasy (etc.)

        Good thing you're so much smarter than all them fancy-pants scientists and engineers with their high-falutin' PhD's and book-learnin' working on that damn-fool idea! If they just listen to you, they'll stop wasting their time!
  • ah yes, (Score:1, Funny)

    by SamAdam3d (818241)
    everyone's tubes keep getting longer and harder all the time.
  • by inkdesign (7389) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:34PM (#13473317)
    With a diamond-nanotube composite ring.
  • I think the important question here is...how will this help us make better moon lasers?
  • by eobanb (823187) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:34PM (#13473319) Homepage
    This seems very similar to this article [slashdot.org] from just a few days ago, yet I don't think they're the same thing. I'd be interested in seeing a direct comparison of the nanorods and the diamond nanotubes.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      When a nanorod and a nanotube love each other very much....
    • I believe the nanorods were supposed to be stronger than diamond. The nanotubes seem to be similar to diamonds, only very good conductors as well.

      I don't think they're dupes, but who knows.
    • Here's some comparison on TFA's:

      Nanorods article:
      Physicists in Germany have created a material that is harder than diamond. Natalia Dubrovinskaia and colleagues at the University of Bayreuth made the new material by subjecting carbon-60 molecules to immense pressures.

      Diamond Nanotubes:
      Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory...

      and:

      The new hybrid material was created using Ultrananocrystalline(TM) diamond (UNCD(TM) ), a novel form of carbon developed at Argonne. The research
  • Wow!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ki4iib (902605) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:35PM (#13473326)
    Dude! Diamonds AND nanotubes!!! That's like, pirates AND ninjas!!!!!
  • Is this the coming of The Diamond Age? I can't wait for the diamond to lose it's monatary value.
    • Re:Neal Stephenson (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      I can't wait for the diamond to lose it's monatary value.

      Actually, the best way for diamomd to lose its value is to convince enough people there is no significant difference between a manufactured and a natural diamond. The value of a natural diamond is based on how few flaws there are (fewer->more value). Yet, the odd thing is, how you tell a manufactured diamond from a natural one is the manufactured ones often don't have flaws.
      • Re:Neal Stephenson (Score:3, Informative)

        by binarybum (468664)
        err, no it's not. the refractive index is how you tell real diamonds from manufactured ones.
        • Re:Neal Stephenson (Score:3, Informative)

          by WalksOnDirt (704461)
          Manufactured diamonds are real diamonds, so they have the same refractive index, and density, as natural diamonds. The more usual term for them is synthetic diamonds, and they can be distinguished by their trace elements and by the nature of inclusions (flaws). For instance, high pressure synthetic diamonds have iron inclusions that are not found in natural diamonds.

          It is an open question whether the new vapor deposition diamonds will continue to be identified, though for now they can.
    • Is this the coming of The Diamond Age?

      It was a great title, but the book was really about nanotech, and we are a long way from Stephensons view of the future.

      One thing which does come to mind is the armies of atmospheric war nanobots in the book. They filled the air and clogged peoples lungs with particles.

      This sounds a lot like the atmosphere of modern China, to me.

    • Diamonds won't lose their monetary value. Lab-grown diamonds have inclusions that are never seen in nature, so you will always be able to tell them apart, thus making a difference between the real, expensive diamonds and the lab-grown, cheap ones.
      • The Gemesis process does have inclusions that tend to produce defects and coloring. However, diamond made by Chemical Vapor Deposition is better than what you dig up - the only way to tell it apart is because it's too perfect.

        Here's more info [wired.com] on Apollo and Gemesis.
  • by Trip Ericson (864747) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:39PM (#13473353) Homepage
    Dinotubes.

    Thank you, I'll be here all next week.
  • by Thedeviluno (903528) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:40PM (#13473359) Homepage
    This is a nano diamond ring, you cant see it but will you marry me?
  • Everyone mark your calendar. This is the first day that history will show. The production of electric nano tubes will be the beginning of the brains for the robots that will come and take our pills when we're geriatrics!
  • From TFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by woah (781250)
    ...but harnessing these attributes into real materials has proved elusive.

    not so [slashdot.org] elusive [worldchanging.com] it would seem.

  • "Yes, ok so it's really useful, but does it look any good in earrings?"
  • I'm unimpressed. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MAdMaxOr (834679) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @07:53PM (#13473398)
    Congratulations. You can do vapor deposition of diamonds, and you can do vapor deposition of carbon nanotubes. So can everyone else. You can do them both at the same time? Interesting. Too bad you can't control the process beyond the ratio of nanotube to diamond.

    What about average tube length? Alignment? Bonding with the diamond? Anything beyond what you'd get if you mixed extremely fine diamond powder and nanotube powder, mixed and compressed? Guess not.

    However "Ultrananocrystalline(tm)" sure sounds cool. Maybe the innovation is in the buzzword.

    IHABSCP (I have a B.S. Computational Physics)
    • by sld126 (667783) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @08:57PM (#13473651) Journal
      Step one. See if you can do it.
      Step two. See if you can control it.

      Each step is significant. Computational Physics isn't quite like REAL physics, is it? It's easier to do something on a computer than in real life.
      • Re:I'm unimpressed. (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Each step is significant.

        Absolutely correct. Even if sometimes it seems obvious or of little interest.

        Computational Physics isn't quite like REAL physics, is it? It's easier to do something on a computer than in real life.

        On the contrary. It depends which approximations are taken for the model. In nanoscale materials modeling it typically holds that the simpler the model, the less accurate and the less predictive it will be. Obviously, more complex models are usually more accurate but take lon


      • Each step is significant. Computational Physics isn't quite like REAL physics, is it? It's easier to do something on a computer than in real life.

        Yeah, but much more temporarily important is to be able to do a "Booyah, In your FACE!". That always wins.
      • You forgot the third and most crucial step - you also have to be able to commercialize it. I have seen fantastic technologies founder (like LCOS, for example) because the creators could not scale the manufacturing process to commercial levels.

  • by fossa (212602) <pat7NO@SPAMgmx.net> on Saturday September 03, 2005 @08:05PM (#13473446) Journal

    Ok, seriously, who thought up the name "ultrananocrystalline" ?

    This article is a bit confusing. First, of course, diamond is carbon. Solid carbon exists in two forms: diamond and graphite. The carbon bonds in the diamond structure are tetragonal (I think, been a while since chemistry), each carbon being bonded to four others. In the graphite structure, each carbon is bonded to three other co-planar carbons (trigonal planar?). I believe pi bonds form above and below the plane, adding some stability.

    With the graphite form, all you can get is planes, tubes, or balls. Graphite is slippery because the intraplanar bonds are strong but the interplanar bonds are weak. The intraplanar grahpite bonds are stronger than the diamond bonds in fact, which is why nanotubes are so strong. With the diamond form, you can only get solid crystalline structures.

    The headline is wrong (no surpirse). These are not "diamond nanotubes", but some sort of composite of (presumably) "ultranano" diamond particles and carbon nanotubes. The article doesn't go into much detail, and I don't care to delve any deeper at this point.

  • Nice, how many (Score:1, Flamebait)

    MP3's can it hold compared to this Diamond http://www.digitalnetworksna.com/rioaudio/default. asp?cat=35 [digitalnetworksna.com]
  • Will these be controlled by an evil diamond nanotube cartel in order to drive up their prices 1000-fold? And then will they bribe their way out of an anti-trust case?
  • ... in that they have achieved a combination (not with diamond but an alternative form of carbon) but don't really say what the properties are. Diamonds are brittle but hard. Carbon nanotubes exihibit high tensile strength. So the new material is a brittle, unscratchable sheet with high tensile strength? You might assume so, except that the article talks about "... use in low-friction, wear-resistant coatings, catalyst supports for fuel cells, high-voltage electronics, low-power, high-bandwidth radio fr
  • by mpn14tech (716482) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @10:08PM (#13473919)
    First Scientist: Hey! You got nanotubes in my diamonds! Second Scientist: Hey! You got diamonds in my nanotubes!
  • Diamond is a brittle material and is normally not electrically conducting. Nanotubes, on the other hand, are incredibly strong and are also great electrical conductors... a new material is produced that combines the material properties of both diamond and nanotubes.

    So we have brittle, less conductive nanotubes? I don't get the advantage here...
    • No, the point is that normal diamonds are poor conductors but if you restructure them into nanotubes then they would be great conductors.
      • No, the point is that normal diamonds are poor conductors but if you restructure them into nanotubes then they would be great conductors.

        But since the Nanotubes are already great conductors with high tensile strength you would do this because...?

        The original post had a humorous point, that the article summary lists only negative properties for diamonds and the declares wonder and happiness at getting nanotubes to take on these properties. While I'm sure the end result has some very nice properties it would
  • Drawbacks (Score:3, Funny)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @10:58PM (#13474080) Homepage Journal
    >Diamond has its drawbacks, however. Diamond is a
    >brittle material and is normally not electrically
    >conducting.

    You know, for all that diamonds don't conduct electricity and such, women still go crazy for 'em.

    Women!

  • By integrating these two novel forms of carbon together at the nanoscale a new material is produced that

    combines the material properties of both diamond and nanotubes.

    So... is it like tieing a piece of bread with butter on it to the back of a cat?

    We all know that bread with butter always falls with the butter face down and that the cat always falls on its paws, so one will cancel the other and the cat will be able to defy gravity, being suspended in mid-air?

  • by nutznboltz (473437) on Saturday September 03, 2005 @11:55PM (#13474265) Homepage Journal
    Existing transmission lines are a huge waste of energy. They hold back conversion from fossile fuels to solar and wind by limiting the distance electricity can be effectively sent. Copper is too soft and heavy so aluminum transmission lines are built but there is too much resistance so transmission distance is cut back.

    With nanotubes, near-superconducting transmission lines could be built which would enable cloudly areas to reap the benefits of solar electric power from deserts and wind power from the plains.

    References:
    http://smalley.rice.edu/ [rice.edu] (see associated video lecture.)

    • Copper is too soft and heavy so aluminum transmission lines are built but there is too much resistance so transmission distance is cut back.

      Actually, that's quite wrong.

      Aluminum has higher resistivity than copper, but making the aluminum wire thicker than the copper gives it the same resistance. Meanwhile the aluminum has a better cost/conductance ratio than copper, so the thicker aluminum wire is cheaper too.

      Plus, the much higher strength/weight ratio means that you don't need to support it so often.

  • re: (Score:2, Funny)

    by swatthatfly (808033)
    "Diamond has its drawbacks, however. Diamond is a brittle material and is normally not electrically conducting. Nanotubes, on the other hand, are incredibly strong and are also great electrical conductors, but harnessing these attributes into real materials has proved elusive. "

    Looks like they take two great technologies and put them together to get one mediocre result.
    • Ever heard of carbon-fiber composites? Strong and light but fairly brittle fibers embedded in a flexible, resilient, but low tensile strength epoxy matrix. And the combination is wicked cool stuff. The matrix balances the load between all the fibers nicely, and prevents any one fiber from bending to the shatter point. The fibers themselves make the composite incredibly strong for its weight.

      Silicon carbide grains (hard, rigid) embedded in a block of aluminum (soft, flexible) is another composite wit
  • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday September 04, 2005 @03:06AM (#13475068)

    By integrating these two novel forms of carbon together at the nanoscale a new material is produced that combines the material properties of both diamond and nanotubes.

    So this thing is brittle but very hard to produce ? ...in Soviet Russia !

  • TFA:

    Diamond has its drawbacks, however. Diamond is a brittle material and is normally not electrically conducting. Nanotubes, on the other hand, are incredibly strong and are also great electrical conductors

    It's been a long time since that lecture on P and N dopings, but isn't the combination of a conducting and a non-conducting material useful in semiconductors? Something about Si not being a conductor until it's doped? Are there diode junctions in this stuff?

    • Diamonds can be doped to make semiconductor components. The use of nanotubes in semiconductors would most likely be to replace materials now used for conductors, mostly aluminum, copper, and gold. Nanotubes would not be useful (AFAIK) as a dopant. Doping carbon (diamond) with carbon (nanotube) does not make sense.
      • Well, if this "diamond nanotube" combination is not a semiconductor, what is it? The diamond doesn't conduct, right? And the nanotubes do conduct, as you say. If we can't refer to the diamond as being "doped" w/ the nanotubes, then apparently it's a mixture on a larger scale. Perhaps the nanotubes could be arranged into circuits within a diamond substrate. Not sure if that would provide any particular advantage over e.g. sapphire chips...


  • IANAMP (I am not a molecular physicist) but I have always wondered if it is possible to "dope" diamonds in a similar way that Silicon is "doped" to cause "holes"...

    Silicon and Carbon are both quite similar in the kinds of chemistry that they form...

  • Nanotubes made out of diamonds... now thats a good low cost solution.

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