Sizing up nanotubes

Engineers at Rice University made a breakthrough discovery, and have devised a way to sort nanotubes by their composition and diameter. This may not sound exciting initially, but accurately sorting nanotubes was a major hurdle, and now that there is a way to do it we're one step closer to having devices made from nanotubes.

"Scientists in the US have developed the first method to sort semiconductor carbon nanotubes by size. The technique, devised by Howard Schmidt and colleagues at Rice University, is based on dielectrophoresis and not only separates metallic nanotubes from semiconducting ones but also sorts the semiconducting tubes according to their diameters. The ability to separate and sort nanotubes like this will be essential for making devices from these materials (J. Am. Chem. Soc. in press)."