Isotope Engineering in Nanotube Research

Authored by: Ferenc Simon

Handbook of Nanophysics

Print publication date:  September  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9781420075427
eBook ISBN: 9781420075434
Adobe ISBN:


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The fields of nanosciences received an enormous boost with the discovery of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by Sumio Iijima in 1991 (Iijima 1991). Before 1991, nanoscience and nanotechnology usually meant small clusters of atoms or molecules of seemingly fundamental interest only. The discovery of fullerenes in 1985 (Kroto et al. 1985) revolutionized several fields in chemistry, physics, and also in biomedical sciences. Fullerenes gave material scientists a fresh look at carbonaceous systems: it suggested that there may exist a number of other forms of carbon that await discovery. The discovery of Iijima fulfilled this expectation and brought the attention to nanosciences, even though the discovery of nanotubes had been reported before (Monthioux and Kuznetsov 2006). In fact, he was using the same apparatus that was used for the production of fullerenes. The originally discovered multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were soon followed by the discovery of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) (Bethune et al. 1993, Iijima and Ichihashi 1993), which can be grown in similar conditions as the fullerenes and MWCNTs but exclusively in the presence of metal catalysts.

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