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Unzipping Nanotubes Makes Superfast Electronics

samzenpus posted about 5 years ago | from the greased-lightning dept.

Science 64

Al writes "Two research groups have found a way to unzip carbon nanotubes to create nanoribbons of graphene — a material that has shown great promise for use as nanoscale transistors, but which has proven difficult to manufacture previously. A team led by James Tour, a professor of chemistry and computer science at Rice University, and another led by Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University, both figured out ways to slice carbon nanotubes open to create the nanoribbons. The Stanford team was funded by Intel, and the Rice group is in talks with several companies about commercializing their approach."

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64 comments

Unzipping your moms pants (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27592805)

makes superfast sexing.

Re:Unzipping your moms pants (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#27592937)

She did say you were pretty quick.

Re:Unzipping your moms pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27593029)

Your girlfriend also said i was quick!

oh wait this is /.....

Unzipping nano-tubes!"! (4, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | about 5 years ago | (#27592807)

Hey, that's what an ex-girlfriend of mine called it: her nano-tube. Bitch. Oh, carbon nano-tubes.....gotta hit Cancel.

Re:Unzipping nano-tubes!"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27607085)

worse, mine says micro soft.

Anyone... (0)

gzine (949554) | about 5 years ago | (#27592817)

Strangely aroused by the title.
Almost made me RTFA.
Almost....

Re:Anyone... (5, Funny)

DittoBox (978894) | about 5 years ago | (#27593045)

[mage] what should I give sister for unzipping?
[Kevyn] Um. Ten bucks?
[mage] no I mean like, WinZip?

-Bash.org

Re:Anyone... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27593419)

Why I'd have to recommend 7-Zip [7zip.org] of course!

My chemistry is old but... (1, Insightful)

Forai (1452103) | about 5 years ago | (#27592879)

Isn't it obvious if a molecule is a cylinder cage, and you take out a line... it makes a flat surface?

What about the internet tubes... (3, Funny)

gapagos (1264716) | about 5 years ago | (#27592945)

Can they unzip the internet tubes to make my internet super fast? :-P

Re:What about the internet tubes... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | about 5 years ago | (#27595405)

"And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of [nano]tubes" Wow this time it would actually make sense.

Now for the application (5, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | about 5 years ago | (#27592973)

So now we have a method to bulk-produce graphene; but do we have a way to implement it in devices?

In any case, this is good. Nanowire diameter shouldn't be that hard to manipulate. The more you can manipulate something in synthesis for functional properties, the better it is for application. Look at doping silicon for example.

In any case, I wonder what the lifetime of a graphene-based device would be. Molecular compounds aren't always the most stable. That's one of the main reasons that they are being held back from adoption.

Re:Now for the application (3, Informative)

plague911 (1292006) | about 5 years ago | (#27594017)

"So now we have a method to bulk-produce graphene; but do we have a way to implement it in devices? " No, no we don't. They found a RELATIVLY easy way to make carbon nanoribbons from nanotubes. Nanotubes are still incredibly hard to make. âoe90wt% are still priced well below our competition at $150 per gram or $75,000 per KG.â Carbon nanotubes. The third most expensive substance per weight that I know of. (preceded by nanoribbons and than anti matter)

Re:Now for the application (1)

Bill Currie (487) | about 5 years ago | (#27594111)

You forgot saffron. I've seen it from $80000-$120000/kg)

Re:Now for the application (2, Informative)

voidphoenix (710468) | about 5 years ago | (#27594517)

Californium: $60M/g or $60B/kg
Wikipedia: Transuranium element [wikipedia.org]

Re:Now for the application (3, Funny)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | about 5 years ago | (#27594579)

Buying Californium on your Visa card and having the feds turn up, priceless!

Re:Now for the application (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27596121)

There's some things Americans can't buy, for everything else, there's /.

Re:Now for the application (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#27604415)

Hey, My father bought 500g saffron for ~5 in Yemen (where it is produced).

Where do you live?
1. Let's fly to Yemen,
2. buy 50kg,
3. sell it for $70000/kg where you've seen it.
4. PROFIT!!!

Re:Now for the application (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27597301)

In Norway, cocaine costs about 150$ per gram.

Just saying.

Re:Now for the application (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 5 years ago | (#27598081)

"... $150 per gram ... third most expensive substance per weight that I know of"

You should take a look at some other substances, like gold, tungstein, platinum... Or maybe you should want to fix that price becuse for $150 the gram a 1 miligram chip would have the extratospheric cost of $0,015 from materials.

Re:Now for the application (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27596339)

http://www.nantero.com/mission.html

What are "ribbens"? (2, Informative)

xerxesVII (707232) | about 5 years ago | (#27592977)

I rtfa and I saw mention of nanoribbons, but nothing about nanoribbens. Obviously Al doesn't know what he's talking about since he's just making up new words on the fly.

Re:What are "ribbens"? (5, Funny)

Alotau (714890) | about 5 years ago | (#27593061)

...he's just making up new words on the fly.

With all the unzipping going on, making up words on the fly is probably OK in this instance.

A simpler answer (5, Funny)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | about 5 years ago | (#27592985)

Picture:

... a factory in some third world country, where the workers slit open the nanotubes with very small scissors.

... or a factory in some third world country, where very small workers slit open the nanotubes ...

... or a very small factory in some third world country ...

... or ...

Re:A simpler answer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27593125)

wrong forums dude

captcha: condom

wtf man.

Re:A simpler answer (4, Funny)

bitrex (859228) | about 5 years ago | (#27593437)

A factory in some third world country, where the workers make scale models of factories.

Re:A simpler answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27594919)

A factory in some third world country, where the workers make scale models of factories.

That's actually where the 1 billion third world country factory workers go after they build their last 3D Glasses that mostly just get thrown away after 90 minutes of use.

Re:A simpler answer (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#27604497)

A factory in some third world country, where workers make factories that produce third world countries, that contain workers that make factories for factories that produce workers that make scale models of factories.

Or in Java:
3rdWorldCountry.3rdWorldCountryFactoryWorkersFactory.Workers.FactoryScaleModelWorkerFactoryFactory my3WC3WCFWFWFSMWFF = 3rdWorldCountry.3rdWorldCountryFactoryWorkersFactory.Workers.FactoryScaleModelWorkerFactoryFactory.CreateInstance()

unzipping my pants (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27592989)

puts another obama in the toilet bowl.

plop!

Nanoscale and cosmic rays (3, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | about 5 years ago | (#27593071)

a material that has shown great promise for use as nanoscale transistors

Won't a stray cosmic ray cause my cpu to fall over?

Re:Nanoscale and cosmic rays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27595489)

Not if what that cosmic ray hits is duplicated ten times elsewhere in the chip. Multicore means not having to say you're sorry.

Re:Nanoscale and cosmic rays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27595779)

Dunno... Guess it might, if it's drunk.

Perfect! (3, Funny)

FelixNZ (1426093) | about 5 years ago | (#27593085)

Sounds like just what I need to tie up my nanopresent after wrapping it in nanopaper, covered with nanowhimisicaldecorations!

Re:Perfect! (1)

evanbd (210358) | about 5 years ago | (#27593699)

And here I thought I had enough trouble with misplacing the tape halfway through wrapping a normal-sized present.

Re:Perfect! (1)

JoCat (1291368) | about 5 years ago | (#27593709)

Sounds like you bought someone a buckyball for their birthday.

Re:Perfect! (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | about 5 years ago | (#27595559)

Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

By this standard, a buckyball sounds like a very tasteful present.

Re:Perfect! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#27604555)

Especially, because you could just wrap up a nice looking empty box with a picture/certificate on it.

Love is blind, Mr. Saint-Exupéry.

ok, so now what (4, Interesting)

Goldsmith (561202) | about 5 years ago | (#27593499)

Both these groups have succeeded where many others have tried and failed (even with very similar ideas). It's great work. As the summary suggested though, they've taken one hard to work with material and using a complicated process, made an even harder to work with material. This is great for doing science, as graphene ribbons are a huge pain to make, and this should open up more labs to investigating their properties.

If we're going to have graphene consumer electronics though, it's going to be based on the wafer-scale CVD manufacturing process developed in Korea and MIT.

Re:ok, so now what (2, Interesting)

vsage3 (718267) | about 5 years ago | (#27594707)

If we're going to have graphene consumer electronics though, it's going to be based on the wafer-scale CVD manufacturing process developed in Korea and MIT.

Trust me, CVD synthesis of graphene is in the earliest of early stages. The problem is that neither group (Korea nor MIT) have figured out how to get the graphene off the nickel layer that catalyzes the reaction. There are other ways of making graphene that are much further along, such as epitaxial growth on silicon carbide.

Re:ok, so now what (4, Interesting)

Goldsmith (561202) | about 5 years ago | (#27595057)

The big benefit of the CVD method is that it's actually easy to remove from the growth wafer. Nickel is easy to dissolve. The first papers on CVD graphene did this and demonstrated pretty good transistors. No one has made ribbons from it yet, but I'm working on that.

Re:ok, so now what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27594719)

Actually, at the very least, the Tour group used an extremely simple--and scalable--process. I haven't read the Dai article yet. The advantages to making graphene from nanotubes instead of from vapor deposition or from exfoliation of graphite are 1) Scalability. The more of these you can make quickly and with cheap reagents such as KMnO4 and sulfuric acid, the more quickly they'll be picked up by commercial enterprises, and 2) Size selectivity. With a nanotube of a known diameter, you can make homogenized graphene nanoribbons with this method. With CVD and exfoliation, you pretty much have a statistical distribution of dimensions of the graphene. All that being said, the Tour article does point out that the electronic properties of their nanoribbons aren't quite as good as graphene made in the traditional ways, due to edge defects created during the unzipping reaction. But this is really only a minor detail, and it's probably being worked on as we speak.

Personally, I'm thrilled about these papers. I work in a related field--fullerene chemistry--and it's always nice to see the novel carbon allotropes jerk hesitantly into their own.

Based on those easy-to-make nanotubes...? (1, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | about 5 years ago | (#27593621)

It's really funny, but it seemed like the nanotubes themselves were pretty hard to make not too long ago. Then, as of last year, I find they are down to $150/kg and are working their way into all sorts of consumer applications.

Re:Based on those easy-to-make nanotubes...? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27593659)

That's not funny asshole.

Re:Based on those easy-to-make nanotubes...? (1)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | about 5 years ago | (#27594227)

A few years ago they were talking about how "in a few years" nanotube TVs would replace LCDs and rear projection televisions. I think the media was a bit optimistic about how long it would take to make them cheaply. I'd just like to know what "in a few years" means because I want my nanotube TV. SED TVs didn't make CES this year, even though there was a prototype nearly 4 years ago (may be 4 years ago now, can't remember exactly). I'm glad they can split them into ribbons, but I would love to see a practical example of nanotubes in action. It's exciting that they were able to do this but I'm impatient and want to see some of the great things the media promised me in 2005.

On a side note, approximately how many nanotubes are there in a kilogram?

Re:Based on those easy-to-make nanotubes...? (2, Insightful)

ChangelingJane (1042436) | about 5 years ago | (#27594927)

Other things that will come "in a few years":

- Stereo 3D in the home
- Personalized medicine
- The end of the economic crisis
- Flying cars
- Duke Nukem Forever

Re:Based on those easy-to-make nanotubes...? (1)

shbazjinkens (776313) | about 5 years ago | (#27594681)

Where? What kind? What purity? I've never seen any nearly that cheap, unless you meant gram, not kilogram. I wonder if maybe you're talking about the lowest possible quality with some serious contamination.

Nanoribbons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27593869)

Cool. They've found something small enough to map the minds of celebrities onto. One more order of magnitude, they'll have something appropriately sized for a politician's mind.

Reminds me of the old joke. . . (-1, Offtopic)

Slicebo (221580) | about 5 years ago | (#27593989)

My girlfriend said "Kiss me where it stinks", so I drove her to Detroit.

*yawn* (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27594553)

Posting anonymously for obvious reasons

I work in the graphene area, and I think this is bullshit. First, graphene nanoribbons created using this method do not address the fundamental issues that accompany using carbon nanotubes such as targeted orientation or chirality concerns. This is a clear case of missing the forest for the trees. Second, Dai is known for some rather unbelievable studies.

Mn2O7 (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | about 5 years ago | (#27603321)

From TFA: "The Rice researchers exposed their carbon nanotubes to sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate, a strong oxidizing agent".

Hmm, as I recall my High School terror^H^H^H^H^H^Hchemistry classes, that produces Manganese Heptoxide [wikipedia.org].

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