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Researchers Measure Carbon Nanotube Interaction

SpecialChem / Dec 3, 2007

Carbon nanotubes have been employed for a variety of uses including composite materials, biosensors, nano-electronic circuits and membranes. While they have proven useful for these purposes, no one really knows much about what's going on at the molecular level. For example, how do nanotubes and chemical functional groups interact with each other on the atomic scale? Answering this question could lead to improvements in future nano devices. In a quest to find the answer, researchers for the first time have been able to measure a specific interaction for a single functional group with carbon nanotubes using chemical force microscopy - a nanoscale technique that measures interaction forces using tiny spring-like sensors. Functional groups are the smallest specific group of atoms within a molecule that determine the characteristic chemical reactions of that molecule. A recent report by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers and colleagues found that the interaction strength does not follow conventional trends of increasing polarity or repelling water.

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