The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced new nanotechnology that will allow to make simpler, safer and much cheaper manufacturing process for single-walled carbon nanotubes.
The new NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) production process will permit the fabrication of high-quality, low-cost SWCNTs commercially in the near future. Until now SWCNT could not be commercially produced due to their high production cost. Now, with the new NASA technology cost will go down to a level where commercial manufacturing is possible.
A carbon nanotube is a graphite sheet one atomic layer thick of carbon that is wrapped on itself to create an extraordinarily thin, strong tube. Production had been limited since discovery dute to cost, safety, and manufacturing issues.
A single wall carbon nanotube is a one-atom thick sheet of graphite (called graphene) rolled up into a seamless cylinder with diameter of the order of a nanometer. Such cylindrical carbon molecules have novel properties that make them potentially useful in many applications in nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields of materials science.
The new technology will have many applications in the marketplace. Potentially, carbon nanotubes may be applied in the medical, construction, manufacturing, and imaging fields with many practical applications. Single-walled nanotubes are the most likely candidate for miniaturizing electronics past the micro electromechanical scale that is currently the basis of modern electronics.
Computer applications of nanotubes are also possible. AS a matter of fact, the first nanotube made integrated memory circuit was made in 2004. Depending on subtle surface features a nanotube may act as a plain conductor or as a semiconductor. A fully automated method has been developed to remove non-semiconductor tubes.
Nanotailor, a new company based in Austin, Texas, has built and tested a prototype based on NASA Goddard's process for SWCNT an has a license agreement in place for commercialization efforts with a plan to go to market by the end of 2007.
NASA Goddard Space Center is located in Greenbelt, MD, and is helping nanotechnology companies like Nanotailor to find faster and safer innovative processes for manufacturing high technology products.
More likely, device integrators and nanotechnology-based device companies will likely be among Nanotailor's first customers, though the company hopes to cater to a wide variety of industries and research organizations.
This partnership between a private company and a government agency shows how successful associations could be in technology based small companies.
NASA Technology Forms the Basis for a New Nanotechnology Company. By Rob Gutro. NASA press release. URL: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/nano_tech.html