Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon nanotube structures changed by ‘attack’ from within, researchers discover

Date:
August 16, 2011
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
A team of researchers has shown for the first time that chemical reactions at the nano-level which change the structure of carbon nanotubes can be sparked by an 'attack' from within.

The development of NanoBuds on carbon nanotubes.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Nottingham

A team of researchers involving scientists from The University of Nottingham has shown for the first time that chemical reactions at the nano-level which change the structure of carbon nanotubes can be sparked by an 'attack' from within.

The discovery challenges previous scientific thinking that the internal surface of the hollow nanostructures is chemically unreactive, largely restricting their use to that of an inert container or a 'nano-reactor' inside which other chemical reactions can take place.

Their research, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, shows that carbon nanotubes that have had their structures changed are exciting new materials that could be useful in the development of new technologies for gas storage devices, chemical sensors and parts of electronic devices such as transistors.

Dr Andrei Khlobystov, of the University's School of Chemistry, who led the work at Nottingham, said: "It has universally been accepted for some time now that the internal surface of carbon nanotubes -- or the concave side -- is chemically unreactive, and indeed we have been successfully using carbon nanotubes as nano-reactors.

"However, in the course of this new research we made the serendipitous discovery that in the presence of catalytically active transition metals inside the nanotube cavity, the nanotube itself can be involved in unexpected chemical reactions."

Carbon nanotubes are remarkable nanostructures with a typical diameter of 1-2 nanometres, which is 80,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. Dr Khlobystov and his research associates were recently involved in the discovery -- published in Nature Materials -- that nanotubes can be used as a catalyst for the production of nanoribbon, atomically thin strips of carbon created from carbon and sulphur atoms. These nanoribbons could potentially be used as new materials for the next generation of computers and data storage devices that are faster, smaller and more powerful.

In this latest research, the scientists found that an individual atom of Rhenium metal (Re) sets off a chemical reaction leading to the transformation of the inner wall of the nanotube. Initially, the attack by the Rhenium creates a small defect in the nanotube wall which then gradually develops into a nano-sized protrusion by 'eating' additional carbon atoms.

The protrusion then rapidly increases in size and seals itself off, forming a unique carbon structure dubbed a NanoBud, so called because the protrusion on the carbon nanotube resembles a bud on a stem.

Previously, NanoBuds were believed to be formed outside the nanotube through reactions on the outer surface with carbon molecules called fullerenes.

The new study demonstrates for the first time that they can be formed from within, provided that a transition metal atom with suitable catalytic activity is present within the nanotube.

In collaboration with the Electron Microscopy of Materials Science group at Ulm University in Germany, the scientists have even been able to capture 'on camera' the chemical reaction of the transition metal atom with the nanotube in real time at the atomic level using the latest Aberration-Corrected High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (AC-HRTEM). Their videos show nanotubes with a diameter of around 1.5 nanometers, while the NanoBuds are just 1 nanometer across.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Thomas W. Chamberlain, Jannik C. Meyer, Johannes Biskupek, Jens Leschner, Adriano Santana, Nicholas A. Besley, Elena Bichoutskaia, Ute Kaiser, Andrei N. Khlobystov. Reactions of the inner surface of carbon nanotubes and nanoprotrusion processes imaged at the atomic scale. Nature Chemistry, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1115

Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Carbon nanotube structures changed by ‘attack’ from within, researchers discover." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816084009.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2011, August 16). Carbon nanotube structures changed by ‘attack’ from within, researchers discover. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816084009.htm
University of Nottingham. "Carbon nanotube structures changed by ‘attack’ from within, researchers discover." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110816084009.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
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