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December 12th, 2005
Nanotubes: not as perfect as one might like
Richard Jones: Carbon nanotubes are often imagined to be structures of great perfection and regularity, but the reality is that, like virtually all materials we encounter, they will have defects - places where there’s a mistake in the crystal structure, like a missing atom or a wrongly connected bond. Defects are tremendously important in materials science, because they’re what stop materials from being anything like as strong as you would estimate they ought to be from a simple calculation. A recent paper in Nature Materials provides what is, I think, the first accurate measurement of defect densities in single walled carbon nanotubes.
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