boron nitride nanotubes, cones and spheres

from the alternative-chemistries dept.
Brian Wang spotted this interesting item in Electronic Engineering Times on boron nitride nanostructures: "Northwestern University research has delivered the world's first nanotubes, -cones and -spheres constructed from boron nitride rather than the usual carbon. Single-walled boron-nitride (BN) nanostructures are hypothetically stronger and lighter than steel, but were only recently demonstrated here by professor Laurence Marks. Once BN nanostructures are embedded into polymers, they could serve to ruggedize the surface of metal parts, as well as form the basis for oxidation-proof coating. BN nanostructures have been hypothesized since carbon buckyballs were first built in the 1980s. But previous evidence of BN nanostructures was limited to multiwalled nanotubes, concentric fullerenes and nano-arches, the images for which were obtained only after the samples had been exposed to air, contaminating them with artifacts."

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