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In this paper, we describe unique thermally responsive polymer system based on nanotube-elastomers dispersed with core-shell expanding microspheres (phase-change material). Upon thermal or infrared stimuli, liquid hydrocarbon cores encapsulated within the microspheres vaporize, expanding the surrounding shells and stretching the matrix. Microsphere transformation resulted in visible dimensional changes associated with macroscopic volume increase (>500%), reduction in density (>80%), and increase in elastic modulus (>675%). Additionally, electrically conductive nanotubes allowed for expansion dependent electrical responses. We present our new findings on expansion dependent superhydrophobicity in these materials and present some outlook and comparison of our stimuli responsive polymers with other material systems for future origami based applications.
Load transfer and mechanical strength of reinforced polymers are fundamental to developing advanced composites. This paper demonstrates enhanced load transfer and mechanical strength due to synergistic effects in binary mixtures of nano-carbon/polymer composites. Different compositional mixtures (always 1 wt. % total) of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) and single-layer graphene (SLG) were mixed in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and effects on load transfer and mechanical strength were studied using Raman spectroscopy. Significant shifts in the G-bands were observed both in tension and compression for single as well binary nano-carbon counterparts in polymer composites. Small amounts of MWNT0.1 dispersed in SLG0.9/PDMS samples (subscripts represents weight percentage) reversed the sign of the Raman wavenumbers from positive to negative values demonstrating reversal of lattice stress. A wavenumber change from 10 cm-1 in compression (-10% strain) to 10 cm-1 in tension (50% strain), and an increase in elastic modulus of ∼103% was observed for MWNT0.1SLG0.9/PDMS with applied uniaxial tension. Presence of MWNTs in the matrix reduced the segmental polymeric chain length and provided limited extensibility to the chains. This in turn eliminated compressive deformation of SLG and significantly enhanced load transfer and mechanical strength of composites in tension. The orientation order of MWNT with application of uniaxial tensile strain directly affected the shift in Raman wavenumbers (2D band and G-band) and load transfer. It is observed that the cooperative behavior of binary nano-carbons in polymer composites resulted in enhanced load transfer and mechanical strength. Such binary compositions could be fundamental to developing advanced composites.
This paper discusses some of the highly interesting effects that occur when photons interact with carbon nanotubes. From position dependent photoconductivity of nanotube thin films to photon induced elastic actuation of carbon nanotubes is presented. A new field of micro-opto-mechanical systems (MOMS) is envisioned through the miniaturization of nanotube actuators using MEMS and CMOS processes. Number of remotely controlled MOMS devices including MOMS grippers, MOMS cantilevers and MOMS mirrors are presented. The performance of these devices rivals their MEMS electrostatic counterparts while consuming only fraction of energy and enabling remote controllability. Finally, the interaction of light with nanotubes for biomedical nanotechnology and photodynamic cancer therapy is presented.
We report the integration of single wall carbon nanotube ensembles into micro-mechanical systems to realize a new carbon nanotube micro-optomechanical system (CNT-MOMS). CNT-MOM grippers were fabricated with CMOS compatible techniques involving nanotube film formation, wafer bonding, photo-lithography, plasma etching and dry release. MOM-grippers displacement of ∼24μm was obtained from a gripper of 430μm in length under infra-red laser stimulus and continuous operation of more than 100,000 cycles was acquired. The optical power consumption of the gripper operation was estimated to be as small as ∼240μW. This study is a good example of how nano-materials could be integrated into CMOS compatible techniques for applications in high performance MEMS and nanoscale actuation technologies.
Carbon nanotubes are known for their exceptional mechanical and unique electronic properties. The size dependant properties of nanomaterials have made them attractive to develop highly sensitive sensors and detection systems. This is especially true in biological sciences, where the efficiency of detection systems reflect on the size of the detector and the sample required for detection. At approximately 1.5 to 10nm wide, and approximately 1.5 to 2μm long, the use of carbon nanotubes as sensors in biological systems would greatly increase the sensitivity of detection and diagnostics, for a reduced sample size consisting of few individual proteins and antibodies. Since all the atoms in carbon nanotubes are surface atoms, binding proteins or antibodies to the surfaces can greatly affect their surface states, and thus their electrical and optical properties. This effect can be exploited as a basis for detecting biological surface reactions in a single protein or antibody attached to carbon nanotube surfaces.
In this paper, we show the binding of fluorescently tagged antibodies in phosphate buffered saline on the surfaces of carbon nanotubes. Investigations using a confocal microscope suggest a significant interaction of the antibodies with the surfaces of the nanotubes, the intensity depending on incubation time. Since the surface area to volume ratio of CNTs is high, the use of surfactant to separate the nanotubes creates a greater surface area for antibody attachment. The interaction between CNTs and antibodies is seen to be primarily due to adsorptive surface phenomenon, between the nanotube sidewalls and antibody molecule clusters.
The focus of today's research has largely shifted from macro scale to micro scale and further to nano scale. The reason being the desire to realize quantum size effects in devices that has long eluded scientists around the world alike. With the discovery of nanoparticles, nanowires, and nanotubes, the ability to realize these effects practically into devices has increased manifold. Integration of carbon nanotubes with different types of functional materials may become mandatory in the future for electronics and sensing applications and in this sense, nucleation, growth and evolution of the structure of metallic and semiconducting materials on carbon nanotubes may be necessary. Further, it also provides opportunities to do fundamental research on understanding the structure-property relationships of these nanowires using carbon nanotubes. In this paper, we present a technique to form metallic and semiconducting nanowires using carbon nanotubes themselves as templates. Nanowires of silver and platinum have been fabricated by the electric field assisted deposition of nano particles of these metals on single walled carbon nanotubes. SEM and TEM investigations have shown the dimensions of the nanowires to be dependent only on the size of the nanoparticles, 10 - 100 nm in our case. The silver nanowires exhibited linear current – voltage characteristics whereas the platinum nanowires exhibited non-linear characteristics beyond a certain bias. This technique provides a high degree of selectivity by manipulating the charges on the surface of the nanotubes, which enables the deposition of metals only on the nanotubes and not anywhere else. The versatility of this technique allows for the fabrication of different types of metallic and semiconducting nanowires at the same dimensions as carbon nanotubes.
In this paper, we demonstrate the self assembled growth of nanotubes along the surface of (100), (110) and (111) silicon wafers using thermal CVD. Iron nanoparticles, 10 nm in diameter, were used as the catalyst. Carbon nanotubes were grown in a methane atmosphere at 1000°C. SEM and AFM characterization revealed single wall carbon nanotubes, about 10 nm in diameter and up to 10 νm in length, growing along the <111> direction of the silicon wafer. The mechanism of growth of nanotubes is similar to that of molecular epitaxy which occurs due to the lattice matching of the silicon and iron crystal lattices forming self aligned silicides at high temperature which help orient the nanotubes. This process may enable the integration of nanotubes with CMOS processing technology.
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