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News Release 06-144

Researchers Develop Method to Sort Carbon Nanotubes by Size and Electrical Properties

Method could make better batches for commercial applications

Single-walled carbon nanotubes are coated in soap-like molecules.

Single-walled carbon nanotubes are coated in soap-like molecules.

October 4, 2006

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Carbon nanotubes sport a long list of powerful properties, from superior strength to finely tuned electrical conductivity. But current methods for synthesizing them yield mixtures of the tiny tubes that have a variety of diameters and properties. That lack of consistency limits their use in commercial technology.

Now, NSF-supported researchers at Northwestern University have developed a method to sort carbon nanotubes that vary from each other by no more than 0.02 nanometers (billionths of a meter).

The results are published in the October 2006 inaugural issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

See the Northwestern news release at


Media Contacts
Megan Fellman, Northwestern University, (847) 491-3115, email:
Josh Chamot, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-7730, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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