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Nanowires of Unlimited Length 111

Posted by kdawson
from the eat-your-heart-out-spiderman dept.
StCredZero writes with word of a research team from the University of Illinois who have developed a way to manufacture nanowires of any length from various materials. Not, unfortunately, carbon nanotubes, or we would be looking for news on space elevators soon. The process is analogous to drawing with a fountain pen — as liquid is drawn from a reservoir, a solvent (water or an organic) evaporates and the solute precipitates onto a substrate. The researchers have demonstrated a way to spin and wind a nanowire onto a spool; they have produced a coil of microfiber 850 nm in diameter and 40 cm long. Here's the abstract from the journal Advanced Materials.
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Nanowires of Unlimited Length

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  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday February 11, 2008 @02:54AM (#22376722)

    IMHO, is this:

    To further demonstrate the versatility of the drawing process, for which the U. of I. has applied for a patent, the researchers drew nanofibers out of sugar, out of potassium hydroxide (a major industrial chemical) and out of densely packed quantum dots.

    Nanowires made of quantum dots? Sounds like an outstanding way to make a super efficient solar panel. [wikipedia.org]

    You could lay out nano structures of quantum dots with whatever spacing and precision you'd like. And unlike all the other advances we usually see here on /. this one is already working.

  • wait... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2008 @03:14AM (#22376796)
    doesn't it have to be around or under 100nm to be considered nano?
  • Re:wait... (Score:4, Informative)

    by julesh (229690) on Monday February 11, 2008 @04:45AM (#22377120)
    doesn't it have to be around or under 100nm to be considered nano?

    AFAIK, the most common definition is under 1um, so this just qualifies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:30AM (#22378340)
    Not, unfortunately, carbon nanotubes, or we would be looking for news on space elevators soon.

    Carbon nanotubes have a unique structure that gives them amazing strength, conductivity and resilience. These properties, however, only exist at the nanoscale and have never been scaled up. (Ballistic conduction, for instance, usually only occurs for ~100 um.) So the idea that a space elevator will be constructed from CNTs is something of a Popular Science induced myth.

    Glavin.
  • Re:unlimited? (Score:3, Informative)

    by blueg3 (192743) on Monday February 11, 2008 @09:51AM (#22378498)
    Forever.

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