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Home > News > Model explains how electron beams make nanotubes visible

February 8th, 2006

Model explains how electron beams make nanotubes visible

Scanning electron microscopes are the workhorses of imaging structures on the scale of billionths of a meter. Typically, they work by shooting a beam of electrons at the specimen and then detecting newly generated electrons as they bounce off and scatter. But carbon nanotubes, essentially rolled up sheets of chicken wire a billionth of a meter in diameter, are so narrow and their sides so thin, that scientists haven't properly understood why they are visible using a scanning electron microscope, or SEM. Now, Stanford engineers have solved the mystery, and its explanation not only could help researchers understand what they see in nanotube images but also suggests new nanotube applications such as ultra-sensitive detection of electrons and ultra-precise electron beams for microelectronics manufacturing.

Stanford University

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