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Science Technology

Unzipping Nanotubes Makes Superfast Electronics 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
Al writes "Two research groups have found a way to unzip carbon nanotubes to create nanoribbons of graphene — a material that has shown great promise for use as nanoscale transistors, but which has proven difficult to manufacture previously. A team led by James Tour, a professor of chemistry and computer science at Rice University, and another led by Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University, both figured out ways to slice carbon nanotubes open to create the nanoribbons. The Stanford team was funded by Intel, and the Rice group is in talks with several companies about commercializing their approach."
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Unzipping Nanotubes Makes Superfast Electronics

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  • by Samschnooks (1415697) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:03PM (#27592807)
    Hey, that's what an ex-girlfriend of mine called it: her nano-tube. Bitch. Oh, carbon nano-tubes.....gotta hit Cancel.
  • Isn't it obvious if a molecule is a cylinder cage, and you take out a line... it makes a flat surface?
  • by gapagos (1264716) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:21PM (#27592945)

    Can they unzip the internet tubes to make my internet super fast? :-P

  • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gmBLUEail.com minus berry> on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:26PM (#27592973)

    So now we have a method to bulk-produce graphene; but do we have a way to implement it in devices?

    In any case, this is good. Nanowire diameter shouldn't be that hard to manipulate. The more you can manipulate something in synthesis for functional properties, the better it is for application. Look at doping silicon for example.

    In any case, I wonder what the lifetime of a graphene-based device would be. Molecular compounds aren't always the most stable. That's one of the main reasons that they are being held back from adoption.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by plague911 (1292006)
      "So now we have a method to bulk-produce graphene; but do we have a way to implement it in devices? " No, no we don't. They found a RELATIVLY easy way to make carbon nanoribbons from nanotubes. Nanotubes are still incredibly hard to make. âoe90wt% are still priced well below our competition at $150 per gram or $75,000 per KG.â Carbon nanotubes. The third most expensive substance per weight that I know of. (preceded by nanoribbons and than anti matter)
      • by Bill Currie (487)

        You forgot saffron. I've seen it from $80000-$120000/kg)

      • "... $150 per gram ... third most expensive substance per weight that I know of"

        You should take a look at some other substances, like gold, tungstein, platinum... Or maybe you should want to fix that price becuse for $150 the gram a 1 miligram chip would have the extratospheric cost of $0,015 from materials.

  • What are "ribbens"? (Score:2, Informative)

    by xerxesVII (707232)

    I rtfa and I saw mention of nanoribbons, but nothing about nanoribbens. Obviously Al doesn't know what he's talking about since he's just making up new words on the fly.

  • by bigsteve@dstc (140392) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:29PM (#27592985)
    Picture:

    ... a factory in some third world country, where the workers slit open the nanotubes with very small scissors.

    ... or a factory in some third world country, where very small workers slit open the nanotubes ...

    ... or a very small factory in some third world country ...

    ... or ...

    • by bitrex (859228) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @09:41PM (#27593437)
      A factory in some third world country, where the workers make scale models of factories.
      • A factory in some third world country, where workers make factories that produce third world countries, that contain workers that make factories for factories that produce workers that make scale models of factories.

        Or in Java:
        3rdWorldCountry.3rdWorldCountryFactoryWorkersFactory.Workers.FactoryScaleModelWorkerFactoryFactory my3WC3WCFWFWFSMWFF = 3rdWorldCountry.3rdWorldCountryFactoryWorkersFactory.Workers.FactoryScaleModelWorkerFactoryFactory.CreateInstance()

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      A factory where nanotubes split workers.

      Location: Soviet Russia
  • by microbox (704317) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:39PM (#27593071)
    a material that has shown great promise for use as nanoscale transistors

    Won't a stray cosmic ray cause my cpu to fall over?
  • Perfect! (Score:3, Funny)

    by FelixNZ (1426093) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @08:43PM (#27593085)
    Sounds like just what I need to tie up my nanopresent after wrapping it in nanopaper, covered with nanowhimisicaldecorations!
    • by evanbd (210358)
      And here I thought I had enough trouble with misplacing the tape halfway through wrapping a normal-sized present.
    • by JoCat (1291368)

      Sounds like you bought someone a buckyball for their birthday.

      • Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.

        Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

        By this standard, a buckyball sounds like a very tasteful present.

        • Especially, because you could just wrap up a nice looking empty box with a picture/certificate on it.

          Love is blind, Mr. Saint-Exupéry.

  • Two words:

    Nanoitching powder.

    It practically sells itself!

  • ok, so now what (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goldsmith (561202) on Wednesday April 15, 2009 @09:52PM (#27593499)

    Both these groups have succeeded where many others have tried and failed (even with very similar ideas). It's great work. As the summary suggested though, they've taken one hard to work with material and using a complicated process, made an even harder to work with material. This is great for doing science, as graphene ribbons are a huge pain to make, and this should open up more labs to investigating their properties.

    If we're going to have graphene consumer electronics though, it's going to be based on the wafer-scale CVD manufacturing process developed in Korea and MIT.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by vsage3 (718267)

      If we're going to have graphene consumer electronics though, it's going to be based on the wafer-scale CVD manufacturing process developed in Korea and MIT.

      Trust me, CVD synthesis of graphene is in the earliest of early stages. The problem is that neither group (Korea nor MIT) have figured out how to get the graphene off the nickel layer that catalyzes the reaction. There are other ways of making graphene that are much further along, such as epitaxial growth on silicon carbide.

      • Re:ok, so now what (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Goldsmith (561202) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @04:02AM (#27595057)

        The big benefit of the CVD method is that it's actually easy to remove from the growth wafer. Nickel is easy to dissolve. The first papers on CVD graphene did this and demonstrated pretty good transistors. No one has made ribbons from it yet, but I'm working on that.

  • It's really funny, but it seemed like the nanotubes themselves were pretty hard to make not too long ago. Then, as of last year, I find they are down to $150/kg and are working their way into all sorts of consumer applications.

    • A few years ago they were talking about how "in a few years" nanotube TVs would replace LCDs and rear projection televisions. I think the media was a bit optimistic about how long it would take to make them cheaply. I'd just like to know what "in a few years" means because I want my nanotube TV. SED TVs didn't make CES this year, even though there was a prototype nearly 4 years ago (may be 4 years ago now, can't remember exactly). I'm glad they can split them into ribbons, but I would love to see a prac
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Other things that will come "in a few years":

        - Stereo 3D in the home
        - Personalized medicine
        - The end of the economic crisis
        - Flying cars
        - Duke Nukem Forever
    • Where? What kind? What purity? I've never seen any nearly that cheap, unless you meant gram, not kilogram. I wonder if maybe you're talking about the lowest possible quality with some serious contamination.
  • *yawn* (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Posting anonymously for obvious reasons

    I work in the graphene area, and I think this is bullshit. First, graphene nanoribbons created using this method do not address the fundamental issues that accompany using carbon nanotubes such as targeted orientation or chirality concerns. This is a clear case of missing the forest for the trees. Second, Dai is known for some rather unbelievable studies.

  • All hail the inanimate carbon rod!

  • From TFA: "The Rice researchers exposed their carbon nanotubes to sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate, a strong oxidizing agent".

    Hmm, as I recall my High School terror^H^H^H^H^H^Hchemistry classes, that produces Manganese Heptoxide [wikipedia.org].

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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