Atomic Wire with Protective Sheath: Stable Metal Nanowires One Atom Wide Inside Carbon Nanotubes

Oct 07, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Wires with atomic dimensions are potential structural elements for future nanoscopic electronic components. Such fine wires have completely new electronic properties. However, apart from the non-trivial production of metallic nanowires, their high chemical reactivity is a critical problem; they are easily oxidized in air and are not stable.

Japanese researchers working with R. Kitaura and H. Shinohara have now developed a new method that is simple and delivers stable nanowires: They deposit metal atoms inside of carbon nanotubes. As the scientists report in the journal , this forms metal wires of individual atoms lined up side-by-side that are so well protected by their sheath that they have long-term stability.

The method of production simply involves heating carbon nanotubes and a metal powder together in a vacuum. It works for all metals that enter into a gaseous phase at relatively low temperatures, such as europium, samarium, , and strontium. The metal atoms almost completely fill the cavity inside the carbon nanotubes. Using europium metal and carbon nanotubes with an inner diameter of about 0.76 nm, the researchers were able to obtain wires made of a single chain of individual . This first true one-dimensional nanowires was also stable after one month of exposure to air.

By using carbon nanotubes with different inner diameters, ultrafine wires with various diameters could be produced, which were for example formed of two or four atomic chains. In comparison to macroscopic europium crystals, the atomic wires demonstrate significantly different electronic and .

The nanowires are an ideal model for the study of one-dimensional phenomena. The researchers now aim to test the properties of the wires with respect to their suitability for use as “wiring” for nanoelectronic components.

More information: Hisanori Shinohara, High-Yield Synthesis of Ultrathin Metal Nanowires in Carbon Nanotubes, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2009, 48, No. 44, doi: 10.1002/anie.200902615

Provided by Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In solution, tiny magnetic wires scatter light

Mar 14, 2005

Maneuvering external magnets, scientists can command the direction in which light bounces off tiny, magnetic wires that sway like matchsticks in thick, slow-moving solutions. Announcing her finding at the 229th meeting of ...

New possibilities for boron nanotubes

Sep 27, 2007

Even though some scientists have managed to grow boron nanotubes, the nature of their structure is unknown. Different theories have been proposed regarding boron nanotube make-up, but they often result in structures that ...

Using Nanotubes in Computer Chips

Sep 10, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- MIT materials scientists have developed a new technique for growing carbon nanotubes that could replace the vertical wires in chips, permitting denser packing of circuits.

Recommended for you

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas

Oct 22, 2014

Researchers of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have developed the new BiogàsPlus, a technology which allows ...

Research unlocks potential of super-compound

Oct 22, 2014

Researchers at The University of Western Australia's have discovered that nano-sized fragments of graphene - sheets of pure carbon - can speed up the rate of chemical reactions.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

plasticpower
not rated yet Oct 08, 2009
It's probably easier to discover all the different things that carbon nanotubes CAN'T do, rather than trying to list all the things they can.