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February 9th, 2007
Researchers hoping to harness the potential of nanotechnology are running into a small problem — a really, really small problem.
Manipulating matter at the atomic scale — objects that span a few billionths of a meter — requires a whole new set of lab tools to mimic the functions of extremely small test tubes, pipettes and tweezers.
Matter and energy display unusual properties at such a minuscule scale: Carbon nanotubes are 100 times stronger than steel at one-sixth the weight. Other nanotubes conduct electricity better than most metals and some can even turn transparent.
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