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NanoIntegris, an Illinois-based nanomaterials startup company, announced today that it has begun selling samples of its metallic and semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), which the company has labeled IsoNanotubes, to customers worldwide.
Because of their unique electronic and optical properties, SWCNTs have attracted considerable attention from researchers in the electronics, energy, and biomedical industries over the past several years. Most notably, SWCNTs can behave as either high-mobility conductors or semiconductors, capable of outperforming traditional materials like copper and silicon in applications such as integrated circuits, flat-panel displays, and solar cells.
Limitations in SWCNT manufacturing, however, have long precluded companies from utilizing SWCNTs for serious commercial R&D. "Current SWCNT manufacturing techniques can only generate mixtures of nanotubes that are electronically polydisperse, i.e. that contain both metallic and semiconducting tubes," said Nathan Yoder, NanoIntegris's product development manager. "But electronically polydisperse tubes are unsuitable for many applications. The heterogeneity of commercially available SWCNTs has consequently been a frustrating obstacle for nanotechnology developers."
Despite the demand for electronically pure SWCNTs, attempts to produce uniform metallic and semiconducting nanotubes have met with limited success. "Researchers have been struggling to make SWCNTs of uniform electronic type for over a decade," continued Dr. Yoder. "Although various synthesis and processing techniques have been developed which yield promising results on a laboratory scale, none of these techniques has demonstrated the potential to produce very-high-purity metallic and semiconducting tubes on a large, commercial scale."
NanoIntegris's approach meets this scalability criterion. The company has developed a novel centrifugation process for separating commercially produced, electronically polydisperse SWCNTs by electronic type. "Our process is effective and expandable," stated NanoIntegris's executive vice president Dan Leven. "What is more, the feedback we have received so far from customers regarding the performance of our metallic and semiconducting SWCNTs has been overwhelmingly positive. We are looking forward to working with applications developers to incorporate our IsoNanotubes into future commercial products."
NanoIntegris is a leading supplier of premium carbon nanotubes. The company was spun out of the Hersam Research Group at Northwestern University in early 2007. Its mission is to enable the commercialization of new carbon nanotube applications by providing researchers with materials of the type and purity they require.
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