It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Rice University chemists today revealed the first method for cutting
carbon nanotubes into "seeds" and using those seeds to sprout new
The findings offer hope that seeded growth may one day produce
the large quantities of pure nanotubes needed for dozens of materials
Like vintners who hope to grow new vineyards from a handful of
grape vine cuttings, Rice's chemists hope their new method of seeded
growth for carbon nanotubes will allow them to reproduce their very
best samples en masse.
"Carbon nanotubes come in lots of diameters and types, and our goal
is to take a pure sample of just one type and duplicate it in large
quantities," said corresponding author James Tour, director of Rice's
Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory (CNL).
"We've shown that the concept can work."
The nanotube seeds are about 200 nanometers long and one nano-
meter wide – length-to-diameter dimensions roughly equal to a 16-foot
After cutting, the seeds underwent a series of chemical modifications.
Bits of iron were attached at each end, and a polymer wrapper was
added that allowed the seeds to stick to a smooth piece of silicon oxide.
After burning away the polymer and impurities, the seeds were placed
inside a pressure-controlled furnace filled with ethylene gas.
With the iron acting as a catalyst, the seeds grew spontaneously from
both ends, growing to more than 30 times their initial length – imagine
that 16-foot water hose growing by more than 500 feet – in just a few
Originally posted by semperfoo
This is pretty cool. Whats the deal with the space elevator?