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Breakthrough Approach to Carbon Nanotube Production

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Invention: The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing a highly efficient method of creating carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanostructures are an integral aspect of many applications including electronics therapeutics and mechanical devices. One potential application for carbon nanotubes is solar cells a burgeoning area of the rapidly growing field of renewable energy. Carbon nanotubes can be produced with a variety of techniques but existing methods of production require high temperatures or high-power lasers. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a novel method of manufacturing carbon nanotubes which uses low-power lasers in an oxygen-free environment and does not require a catalyst. This unique approach also allows for production of other carbon nanostructures such as nano onions without the need for high electrical currents. Technology: Functionalized fullerenes when irradiated with electromagnetic radiation in an oxygen-free environment or under vacuum undergo molecular reconstruction to form carbon nanotubes onions and schwarzites. This novel method can be utilized for in situ generation of carbon nanotube-reinforced polymers aligned carbon nanotubes with controlled length and number of walls catalyst-free synthesis and welding of nanotubes. This unique approach to carbon nanotube development utilizes low-power lasers and low-intensity electrical currents providing a more efficient and less expensive method of production. Application: Low-power efficient approach to developing carbon nanotubes for a variety of applications in the fields of medicine and engineering

Benefits:

1) Nanotubes are created with low intensity and/or low-power lasers greatly reducing the energy and laser requirements compared to existing methods 2) Allows for in-situ production of electrical connects between electronic components 3) Allows for facile production of carbon nanotube composites 4) Allows for joining of materials without the need for high electrical currents in either oxygen-containing or oxygen free environments

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