Discovery could introduce new age in electronics

August 30, 1999

A research team from the University of Toronto may have brought the next electronic revolution one step closer to reality.

A cross-disciplinary team led by Professors Jimmy Xu of the department of electrical and computer engineering and Martin Moskovits of chemistry has discovered a new method of producing carbon nanotubes. These submicroscopic carbon filaments could prove to be a building block for future generations of computers, sensors and other electronic devices.

Nanotubes, first discovered in 1991, are only a few hundred atoms in circumference and exhibit unique electrical properties: depending on circumstances they may conduct electricity like a wire, act like a semiconductor or conduct no electricity at all. "It's rare that nature hands you a material with these kinds of capabilities," Moskovits says. "A whole new generation of electronics could potentially be based on nanotubes with properties unlike anything currently in use.

The team hopes their low-cost, low-technology method will help provide the material for future researchers to further explore the properties and uses for what could be a major new technology of the 21st century. The researchers published their results in a recent issue of the journal Advanced Physics Letters.
Bruce Rolston
U of T Public Affairs
(416) 978-6974

University of Toronto

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