A nanotube is a nanometer-scale tube-like structure. A nanotube is a kind of nanoparticle, and may be large enough to serve as a pipe through which other nanoparticles can be channeled, or, depending on the material, may be used as an electrical conductor or an electrical insulator.
The first nanotubes to be discovered were carbon nanotubes. In 1952 L. V. Radushkevich and V. M. Lukyanovich published clear images of 50 nanometer diameter tubes made of carbon in the Soviet Journal of Physical Chemistry. This discovery was largely unnoticed, as the article was published in Russian, and Western scientists' access to Soviet press was limited during the Cold War.
Before they came to be known as carbon nanotubes, in 1976, Morinobu Endo of CNRS observed hollow tubes of rolled up graphite sheets synthesised by a chemical vapour-growth technique. The first specimens observed would later come to be known as single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). The three scientists have been the first ones to show images of a nanotube with a solitary graphene wall.
Kinds of nanotubes
- BCN nanotube ( ~BCN & ~BC2N ), composed of comparable amounts of boron, carbon and nitrogen atoms.
- Boron nitride nanotube, a polymorph of boron nitride predicted in 1994 and experimentally discovered in 1995.
- Carbon nanotube, includes general nanotube terminology and diagrams.
- DNA nanotube, a two-dimensional lattice which curves back upon itself, somewhat similar in size and shape to a carbon nanotube.
- Gallium nitride nanotube, a nanotube of gallium nitride.
- Silicon nanotube, made of silicon atoms and first reported around the year 2000.
- Inorganic nanotube, especially Tungsten(IV) sulfide Nanotubes, first discovered in 1992.
- Membrane nanotube, a tubular membrane connection between cells.
- Titania nanotubes, created by the conversion of the mineral anatase by hydrothermal synthesis.
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