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Smaller, faster computers, bullet proof t-shirts and itty-bitty robots, such are the promises of nanotechnology and the cylinder-shaped collection of carbon molecules known as nanotubes. But in order for these exciting technologies to hit the marketplace (who wouldn’t want an itty-bitty robot), scientists must understand how these miracle-molecules perform under all sorts of conditions. For, without nanoscience, there would be no nanotechnology.
In a recent study, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with colleagues from the IBM Watson Research Center and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, found that while nanotubes are extremely stiff when pulled from the ends, they give when poked in the middle. The larger the radius, the softer they become. The finding, which is important for the development of nanoelectronics, is published in the May 6, 2005 edition of the journal Physical Review Letters.
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