Friday, December 27, 2013

Japanese researchers make standard carbon nanotube production closer than ever

Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), with the cooperation of Meijo Nano Carbon Co. Ltd. demonstrates how they are now closer to making carbon nanotubes into an industrial reality.

Carbon nanotubes may be one of the strongest synthetic materials ever made, but the lack of a proper mass production method for its pure form still makes its standard use a far off dream. AIST’s research marches a few steps forward to address this problem, and they have reported to have been able to develop a way to properly manufacture single-wall (monolayer) carbon nanotubes in quantities that is considerable for its eventual mass production.

One of the common methods used to make carbon nanotubes is via chemical vapor deposition (CVD), the same method used in the semiconductor industry to produce thin film products and components. Their research however, focused on developing their nanotubes using a variant of this method, named as the enhanced Direct Injection Pyrolytic Synthesis (eDIPS), basically an altered version of the CVD’s gas-phase method.

The update to their research details the successful development of a small scale system capable of producing single-wall carbon nanotubes using this method. Meijo Nano Carbon Co. Ltd. provided the necessary industrial foundation for this system, and has moved forward to the development of a prototype production plant that demonstrates their method’s improved production rate and efficiency.

The press release claims that the proof-of-concept system was able to produce high purity single-wall carbon nanotubes at a rate that is at least a hundred times faster than the standard rate of production today. The quality of the material is also rated at around 10 to 20 times better, when analyzed using Raman spectroscopy.

While it is perceived that the eventual practical use of carbon nanotubes is accelerated with their research, AIST is also eyeing on the potential of their production method to change the materials production industry in general, should it become a primary standard.

Source: PCWatch (JP), AIST (JP)

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