Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon Nanotubes Found To Fluoresce; Optical Properties Could Prove Useful In Biomedical, Nanoelectronic Applications

Date:
July 30, 2002
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Add fluorescence to the growing list of unique physical properties associated with carbon nanotubes -- the ultrasmall, ultrastrong wunderkind of the fullerene family of carbon molecules.

HOUSTON-- July 29, 2002 -- Add fluorescence to the growing list of unique physical properties associated with carbon nanotubes -- the ultrasmall, ultrastrong wunderkind of the fullerene family of carbon molecules.

Related Articles


In research detailed in the current issue of Science magazine, a team of Rice University chemists led by fullerene discoverer and Nobel laureate Richard Smalley describes the first observations of fluorescence in carbon nanotubes. Fluorescence occurs when a substance absorbs one wavelength of light and emits a different wavelength in response. The Rice experiments, conducted by Smalley's group and the photophysics research team of chemist R. Bruce Weisman, found that nanotubes absorbed and gave off light in the near-infrared spectrum, which could prove useful in biomedical and nanoelectronics applications.

"Some of the most sophisticated biomedical tests today -- such as MRI exams -- cannot be performed in a doctor's office because the equipment too large and too expensive to operate," said Smalley, University Professor at Rice. "Because nothing in the human body fluoresces in the near-infrared spectrum, and human tissue is fairly transparent at that spectrum, one can envision a test apparatus based on this technology that would be as inexpensive and simple to use as ultrasound."

Optical biosensors based on nanotubes could also be targeted to seek out specific targets within the body, such as tumor cells or inflamed tissues. Targeting would be achieved by wrapping the tubes with a protein that would bind only to the target cells. Since nanotubes fluoresce with a single wavelength of light, and different diameter nanotubes give off different wavelengths, it may be possible to tailor different sizes of tubes to seek specific targets, and thus diagnose multiple maladies in a single test using a cocktail of nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are a member of the fullerene family of carbon molecules, a third molecular form of carbon that is distinct from diamond and graphite. The discovery of fullerenes in 1985 earned Smalley a share of the Nobel Prize.

Like all fullerenes, carbon nanotubes are extraordinarily stable and almost impervious to radiation and chemical destruction. They're small enough to migrate through the walls of cells, conduct electricity as well as copper, conduct heat as well as diamond and are 100 times stronger than steel at one-sixth the weight.

Much of Smalley's current research involves bridging the gap between "wet" nanotechnology -- the molecular, biochemical machinery of life -- and "dry," insoluble nanomaterials like fullerenes. Toward that end, Smalley's lab has churned out dozens of varieties of soluble fullerenes by wrapping nanotubes in various polymers, including proteins, starches and DNA.

In the fluorescence experiments, Smalley and Weisman's teams observed the effect only in nanotubes that were untangled and isolated from neighboring tubes. Researchers bombarded clumps of nanotubes with high-frequency sound waves to separate them, and they encased each individual tube in a molecule of sodium dodecylsulfate in order to isolate it from its neighbors. Fluorescence was observed in both plain and polymer-wrapped nanotubes.

In addition to biomedical applications, the fluorescence research could prove useful in the field of nanoelectronics because it confirms that nanotubes are direct band-gap semiconductors, which means they emit light in a way that could be useful for engineers in the fiber optics industry.

The Rice research team included Michael O'Connell, Sergei Bachilo, Chad Huffman, Valerie Moore, Michael Strano, Erik Haroz, Kristy Rialon, Peter Boul, William Noon, Carter Kittrell, Jianpeng Ma and Robert H. Hauge. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Robert A. Welch Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Carbon Nanotubes Found To Fluoresce; Optical Properties Could Prove Useful In Biomedical, Nanoelectronic Applications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020730075519.htm>.
Rice University. (2002, July 30). Carbon Nanotubes Found To Fluoresce; Optical Properties Could Prove Useful In Biomedical, Nanoelectronic Applications. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020730075519.htm
Rice University. "Carbon Nanotubes Found To Fluoresce; Optical Properties Could Prove Useful In Biomedical, Nanoelectronic Applications." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/07/020730075519.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Sony's glasses module attaches to the temples of various eye- and sunglasses to add a display and wireless connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Los Angeles Police To Receive 7,000 Body Cameras

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the cameras will be distributed starting Jan. 1. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jaguar Unveils 360 Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Jaguar Unveils 360 Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Jaguar unveils a virtual 360 degree windshield that may be the most futuristic automotive development yet. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins