Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Nanotubes Riding to the Rescue

Nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes are set to replace costly platinum in fuel cell applications.

Carbon nanotubes are also destined to play a strong role in the next generation of supercapacitors and superbatteries.

Nitrogen-doped titania nanotubes are slated to convert large quantities of CO2 captured from fossil fuels power plants into methane and other useful fuels and chemicals.

Carbon, silicon, and titanium nanotubes figure to drive the next generation of photovoltaics and production of hydrogen using solar radiation. More efficient electronics, faster computers with much larger memories, and self-cleaning, bulletproof clothing are other coming applications using nanotubes.

Nanotubes will likely help form scaffolding for human tissue and lab-grown organ replacements, and will play a large role in the coming age of brain-machine interfacing. Nanotubes will probably aid in healing from brain injury and disease, and figure prominently in brain augmentation procedures in the not-too-distant future.

When combined with information technology and biotechnology, nanotechnology will certainly transform our world. Unless the age of zombies brought on by the new US Dear Leader tears it down so much that the vast momentum of current research is depleted, and cannot be re-started. That would be a pity.

Update: Brian Wang highlights the use of carbon nanotubes as "nano-stitching" for sewing layers of advanced composites together in the construction of aircraft skins and other high-tech applications.



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