Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Tiny bubbles snap carbon nanotubes like twigs: Rice University study details exactly how nanotubes bend and break

The mechanism by which carbon nanotubes break or bend under the influence of bubbles during sonication is the topic of a new paper led by researchers at Rice University. The team found that short nanotubes are drawn end-first into collapsing bubbles, stretching them, while longer ones are more prone to breakage. 

CREDIT:Pasquali Lab/Rice University
The mechanism by which carbon nanotubes break or bend under the influence of bubbles during sonication is the topic of a new paper led by researchers at Rice University. The team found that short nanotubes are drawn end-first into collapsing bubbles, stretching them, while longer ones are more prone to breakage.

CREDIT:Pasquali Lab/Rice University

Abstract:
What's 100 times stronger than steel, weighs one-sixth as much and can be snapped like a twig by a tiny air bubble? The answer is a carbon nanotube -- and a new study by Rice University scientists details exactly how the much-studied nanomaterials snap when subjected to ultrasonic vibrations in a liquid.

Tiny bubbles snap carbon nanotubes like twigs: Rice University study details exactly how nanotubes bend and break

Houston, TX | Posted on July 9th, 2012

"We find that the old saying 'I will break but not bend' does not hold at the micro- and nanoscale," said Rice engineering researcher Matteo Pasquali, the lead scientist on the study, which appears this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Carbon nanotubes -- hollow tubes of pure carbon about as wide as a strand of DNA -- are one of the most-studied materials in nanotechnology. For well over a decade, scientists have used ultrasonic vibrations to separate and prepare nanotubes in the lab. In the new study, Pasquali and colleagues show how this process works -- and why it's a detriment to long nanotubes. That's important for researchers who want to make and study long nanotubes.

"We found that long and short nanotubes behave very differently when they are sonicated," said Pasquali, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry at Rice. "Shorter nanotubes get stretched while longer nanotubes bend. Both mechanisms can lead to breaking."

Discovered more than 20 years ago, carbon nanotubes are one of the original wonder materials of nanotechnology. They are close cousins of the buckyball, the particle whose 1985 discovery at Rice helped kick off the nanotechnology revolution.

Nanotubes can be used in paintable batteries and sensors, to diagnose and treat disease, and for next-generation power cables in electrical grids. Many of the optical and material properties of nanotubes were discovered at Rice's Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and the first large-scale production method for making single-wall nanotubes was discovered at Rice by the institute's namesake, the late Richard Smalley.

"Processing nanotubes in liquids is industrially important but it's quite difficult because they tend to clump together," co-author Micah Green said. "These nanotube clumps won't dissolve in common solvents, but sonication can break these clumps apart in order to separate, i.e., disperse, the nanotubes."

Newly grown nanotubes can be a thousand times longer than they are wide, and although sonication is very effective at breaking up the clumps, it also makes the nanotubes shorter. In fact, researchers have developed an equation called a "power law" that describes how dramatic this shortening will be. Scientists input the sonication power and the amount of time the sample will be sonicated, and the power law tells them the average length of the nanotubes that will be produced. The nanotubes get shorter as power and exposure time increase.

"The problem is that there are two different power laws that match with separate experimental findings, and one of them produces a length that's a good deal shorter than the other," Pasquali said. "It's not that one is correct and the other is wrong. Each has been verified experimentally, so it's a matter of understanding why. Philippe Poulin first exposed this discrepancy in the literature and brought the problem to my attention when I was visiting his lab three years ago."

To investigate this discrepancy, Pasquali and study co-authors Guido Pagani, Micah Green and Poulin set out to accurately model the interactions between the nanotubes and the sonication bubbles. Their computer model, which ran on Rice's Cray XD1 supercomputer, used a combination of fluid dynamics techniques to accurately simulate the interaction. When the team ran the simulations, they found that longer tubes behaved very differently from their shorter counterparts.

"If the nanotube is short, one end will get drawn down by the collapsing bubble so that the nanotube is aligned toward the center of the bubble," Pasquali said. "In this case, the tube doesn't bend, but rather stretches. This behavior had been previously predicted, but we also found that long nanotubes did something unexpected. The model showed how the collapsing bubble drew longer nanotubes inward from the middle, bending them and snapping them like twigs."

Pasquali said the model shows how both power laws can each be correct: One is describing a process that affects longer nanotubes and another describes a process that affects shorter ones.

"It took some flexibility to understand what was happening," Pasquali said. "But the upshot is that we have a very accurate description of what happens when nanotubes are sonicated."

Study co-authors include Pagani, formerly a visiting scholar at Rice, who studied the sonication process as part of his master's thesis research; Green, a former Evans Attwell-Welch Postdoctoral Researcher at Rice who is now a faculty member at Texas Tech University; and Poulin, research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and a faculty member at the University of Bordeaux in Pessac, France.

The research was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Welch Foundation's Evans Attwell-Welch Fellowship Program, the National Science Foundation, Cray, AMD, Rice's Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology and the Texas Tech University High Performance Computing Center.

####

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its "unconventional wisdom." With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for "best value" among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jeff Falk
713-348-6775


Mike Williams
713-348-6728

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

A copy of the PNAS paper is available at:

Related News Press

News and information

Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds May 22nd, 2018

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space May 17th, 2018

Physics

Scientists Pinpoint Energy Flowing Through Vibrations in Superconducting Crystals: Interactions between electrons and the atomic structure of high-temperature superconductors impacted by elusive and powerful vibrations May 4th, 2018

New qubit now works without breaks: A universal design for superconducting qubits has been created April 19th, 2018

Understanding gravity: The nanoscale search for extra dimensions: A Japan-US research collaboration involving Osaka University uses high-sensitivity experiments to probe exotic gravitational force March 28th, 2018

Leti and Inac Show Path to Creating Building Blocks of Quantum Processors With 28Si isotope in a CMOS Line: Fabrication of Isotopically Enriched, Industry-Compatible Wafers Points Way To Realizing Silicon Spin Quantum Bits with Enhanced Fidelity March 20th, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds May 22nd, 2018

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Making carbon nanotubes as usable as common plastics: Researchers discover that cresols disperse carbon nanotubes at unprecedentedly high concentrations May 15th, 2018

'Exceptional' research points way toward quantum discoveries: Rice University scientists make tunable light-matter couplings in nanotube films April 30th, 2018

The first PE blown films with nanotubes hit the Chinese market April 26th, 2018

Plasmons triggered in nanotube quantum wells: Rice, Tokyo Metropolitan scientists create platform for unique near-infrared devices March 16th, 2018

Nanomedicine

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cells May 15th, 2018

Nanomedicine -- Targeting cancer cells with sugars May 14th, 2018

NanoBio Announces Corporate Name Change to BlueWillow Biologics and Closes $10M Series A Financing: Move Reflects Focus on Advancing Several Intranasal Vaccines to Human Studies May 9th, 2018

Sensors

Strain improves performance of atomically thin semiconductor material May 11th, 2018

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

Doing the nano-shimmy: New device modulates light and amplifies tiny signals April 12th, 2018

Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Detect Molecular Biomarker for Osteoarthritis March 13th, 2018

Nanoelectronics

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

Strain improves performance of atomically thin semiconductor material May 11th, 2018

Nanoscale measurements 100x more precise, thanks to improved two-photon technique May 8th, 2018

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor: Gallium oxide shows high electron mobility, making it promising for better and cheaper devices April 24th, 2018

Discoveries

Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds May 22nd, 2018

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Materials/Metamaterials

Making carbon nanotubes as usable as common plastics: Researchers discover that cresols disperse carbon nanotubes at unprecedentedly high concentrations May 15th, 2018

Mining for gold with a computer: Texas A&M team gleans new insights on key material May 3rd, 2018

'Exceptional' research points way toward quantum discoveries: Rice University scientists make tunable light-matter couplings in nanotube films April 30th, 2018

The first PE blown films with nanotubes hit the Chinese market April 26th, 2018

Announcements

Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds May 22nd, 2018

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

New blood test rapidly detects signs of pancreatic cancer May 17th, 2018

Disability Can Be a Superpower in Space Disabled astronauts offer unique solutions to emergencies in space May 17th, 2018

Military

Hematene joins parade of new 2D materials: Rice University-led team extracts 3-atom-thick sheets from common iron oxide May 8th, 2018

Engineered polymer membranes could be new option for water treatment May 6th, 2018

Watching nanomaterials form in 4D: Novel technology allows researchers to see dynamic reactions as they happen at the nanoscale April 26th, 2018

Graphene origami as a mechanically tunable plasmonic structure for infrared detection April 25th, 2018

Energy

Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, gold May 15th, 2018

Hematene joins parade of new 2D materials: Rice University-led team extracts 3-atom-thick sheets from common iron oxide May 8th, 2018

A designer's toolkit for constructing complex nanoparticles May 5th, 2018

Scientists Pinpoint Energy Flowing Through Vibrations in Superconducting Crystals: Interactions between electrons and the atomic structure of high-temperature superconductors impacted by elusive and powerful vibrations May 4th, 2018

Industrial

Watching nanomaterials form in 4D: Novel technology allows researchers to see dynamic reactions as they happen at the nanoscale April 26th, 2018

Leti and Inac Show Path to Creating Building Blocks of Quantum Processors With 28Si isotope in a CMOS Line: Fabrication of Isotopically Enriched, Industry-Compatible Wafers Points Way To Realizing Silicon Spin Quantum Bits with Enhanced Fidelity March 20th, 2018

Glass matters: UCSB researchers find that the chemical topology of silica can influence the effectiveness of many chemical processes that use it March 14th, 2018

Big steps toward control of production of tiny building blocks March 9th, 2018

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds May 22nd, 2018

Mining for gold with a computer: Texas A&M team gleans new insights on key material May 3rd, 2018

The dispute about the origins of terahertz photoresponse in graphene results in a draw April 26th, 2018

Ultra-powerful batteries made safer, more efficient: Team aims to curb formation of harmful crystal-like masses in lithium metal batteries April 12th, 2018

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

A micro-thermometer to record tiny temperature changes May 15th, 2018

Strain improves performance of atomically thin semiconductor material May 11th, 2018

A powerful laser breakthrough: Lehigh research team demonstrates terahertz semiconductor laser with record-high output power May 2nd, 2018

'Exceptional' research points way toward quantum discoveries: Rice University scientists make tunable light-matter couplings in nanotube films April 30th, 2018

Research partnerships

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Nanoscale measurements 100x more precise, thanks to improved two-photon technique May 8th, 2018

Hematene joins parade of new 2D materials: Rice University-led team extracts 3-atom-thick sheets from common iron oxide May 8th, 2018

Nanobiotix and Weill Cornell Medicine Partner on Pre-Clinical Research Inbox x May 3rd, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project