Physicists grow micro-machines from carbon

Physicists grow micro-machines from carbon
BYU physicists made this tiny logo as a demonstration of their technique for growing stable structures from carbon nanotubes.

( -- A Brigham Young University physics student and his professor had some fun with their new method of growing tiny machines from carbon molecules.

We’ve seen some creative ways of making tiny BYU logos before, like engraving these nano-sized letters in silica and shaping these even smaller letters from DNA strands. But growing a nano-logo? That’s probably a first on campus.

Here is how BYU physics professor Robert Davis and his student Taylor Wood do it: They start by patterning the carbon seeds of the logo onto an iron plate. Next they send heated gas flowing across the surface, and a forest of carbon nano-tubes springs up.

“It’s a really fragile structure at this point – blowing on it or touching it would destroy it,” Davis said. “We developed a process to coat and strengthen the tubes so that we can make microstructures that have practical applications.”

Another student, Jun Song, used the process to make devices that quickly and neatly separate the various chemicals contained in a solution. The technique is detailed by the BYU physicists in a new study published in the scientific journal .

Physicists grow micro-machines from carbon

As demonstrated in the paper, their approach using carbon nanotubes is more precise than current chemical separation methods because it gives more control over the channels that the fluids flow through. That’s why the company US Synthetic purchased the commercial rights from BYU.

Designing little logos and separating chemicals isn’t all the BYU researchers are doing, either. They’re also building several kinds of micro-machines including actuators, switches and humidity-detecting cantilevers. Next on their agenda is to create filtration devices.

“The technology is moving in a lot of directions,” said Davis.

Explore further

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More information: … m.201001851/abstract
Citation: Physicists grow micro-machines from carbon (2011, March 9) retrieved 22 October 2019 from
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Mar 09, 2011
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Mar 09, 2011
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Mar 09, 2011
I suppose so finite...

And Bob_B, while I agree with you that the school is retarded in its moral stance, I don't really think that affects building machines out of carbon nanotubes. Actually, this seems like a really good concept. Maybe the student just went there because they gave him a scholarship or something. (I may have a more open mind to this though, since I was put in a Catholic high school, and just smiled to myself when they taught anything religious). Perhaps I'm projecting myself into this kid, or perhaps since he's well down the science route he would feel the same way I do.

Mar 09, 2011
Who cares about anything BYU produces? It is a bastard of a religion that creates a school that says you can't have sex with a woman who is your girlfriend. Maybe they need sex with men! Or is it they needed 2 or more girlfriends to keep the multiple marriages alive? LDS are stupid idiots ans maybe if we had one for a president we could get many wifes for each of us and we could have our own planet to rule all those Jews we had baptized into the LDS to save them!

Yeah, they're pretty off. But then again, most religions are. Most religions say no sex before marriage. That's why I became an atheist. Well, that and I just wanted to sin all I wanted without responsibility. At least that's what theists tell me.

Mar 10, 2011
Deci physorg e un site nazist. Nu voi mai murdari acest site cu comentariile mele. Sugeti-va singuri pula fraierilor. Imbecililor.

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