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May 5th, 2007
Nanotubes inch closer to electronic applications
Lehigh physicists' modeling expertise leads to important step toward large-scale integrated nanotube electronics. Researchers at Lehigh and two other universities have fabricated dense arrays of single-walled carbon nanotubes into a thin-film semiconductor material, moving a step closer to the integration of the tiny tubes into electronic devices.
The keys to their success are two-fold, the researchers say. A new growth method allows parallel and linear alignment of nanotubes. And a rational design of the device geometry, guided by theoretical research, overcomes non-uniformities in the density and distribution of the tubes in devices.
The researchers, who represent the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lehigh and Purdue universities, published their results in the April issue of Nature Nanotechnology. Their work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Carbon nanotubes, discovered in 1991, are strong and easy to shape without breaking, and can act as metals or semiconductors. They show great potential in nanoelectronics, medicine, sensing and optoelectronics, and as strengthening elements in composite materials.
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