Ball and stick illustrations of single (left), double (centre) and triple-walled carbon nanotubes.
(Courtesy: T Hirschmann)

Scientists delve deeper into carbon nanotubes

Feb 19, 2013

The outer walls of both double- and triple-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) protect the innermost tubes from interacting with their environment. That is the key finding of a study by researchers in the US, Germany and Japan, who have made the first detailed examination of triple-walled CNTs using resonant Raman spectroscopy. The protection afforded by the outer layer allows the tiny tubes to be studied in more detail than ever before, which could be a boon to those using CNTs to create new technologies.

A single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) resembles a tiny drinking straw with a wall that is just one carbon atom thick. A double-walled carbon nanotube (DWCNT) consists of two concentric SWCNTs coupled together by weak Van der Waals interactions. The inner and outer tubes can either be semiconducting or metallic. However, because the outer tube is in direct contact with its environment, it can be difficult to obtain accurate information about its fundamental physical properties.

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