A pair of brief press releases tell of recent work with carbon nanotubes by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI):
- Two RPI researchers, G. Ramanath and P. Ajayan in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, claim in a press release (28 January 2002) they are the first to grow nanotubes into any set of predetermined directions on silicon-based substrates. They say their work paves the way for making nanoscale devices that depend on the connection of tiny wires in many directions.
- In a second, rather short press release (29 January 2002), two other RPI researchers said static electricity poses serious problems with nanoscale elements in a circuit. P. Keblinski, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and S. Nayak, assistant professor of physics, combined quantum mechanics in theoretical computer simulations with classical electrostatics analysis. According to their analysis, small zap of static electricity destabilizes the nanotubes, making them useless as a semiconductor. They found that the electrostatic charge is concentrated at the tube ends. The charge eventually destroys the entire nanotube. The researchers suggest doping the nanotubes may help, and that addition of elements such as nitrogen could provide new electrical characteristics to the tubes or could be used to increase the bonding between the tubes and other materials.