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April 30th, 2007
Wondering where nanotechnology is headed next? Check out this month's Scientific American for the lowdown on carbon nanonets.
Instead of laying down exquisitely detailed paths of carbon nanotubes to make functional products, researchers have discovered that random networks of the super small, super-strong, highly conductive materials might be just as useful. These nanonets might usher in an era of inexpensive, highly functional "printable" electronics, light-emitting diodes, and flexible solar cells.
Why do the nets work as well as their more precise brethren? The article compares a random network of carbon nanotubes to an interstate highway system. Interconnected highways offer drivers many alternative paths to the same destination, and nanonets seem to do likewise for electrons.
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