Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2009, 48,
Atomic Wire with Protective Sheath
Stable metal nanowires one atom wide inside carbon nanotubes
Contact: Hisanori Shinohara, Nagoya University (Japan)
Registered journalists may download the original article here:
High-Yield Synthesis of Ultrathin Metal Nanowires in Carbon Nanotubes
with atomic dimensions are potential structural elements for future
nanoscopic electronic components. Such fine wires have completely new
electronic properties. However, apart from the non-trivial production
of metallic nanowires, their high chemical reactivity is a critical
problem; they are easily oxidized in air and are not stable. Japanese
researchers working with R. Kitaura and H. Shinohara have now developed
a new method that is simple and delivers stable nanowires: They deposit
metal atoms inside of carbon nanotubes. As the scientists report in the
journal Angewandte Chemie, this forms metal wires of individual
atoms lined up side-by-side that are so well protected by their sheath
that they have long-term stability.
method of production simply involves heating carbon nanotubes and a
metal powder together in a vacuum. It works for all metals that enter
into a gaseous phase at relatively low temperatures, such as europium,
samarium, ytterbium, and strontium. The metal atoms almost completely
fill the cavity inside the carbon nanotubes. Using europium metal and
carbon nanotubes with an inner diameter of about 0.76 nm, the
researchers were able to obtain wires made of a single chain of
individual atoms. This first true one-dimensional nanowires was also
stable after one month of exposure to air.
using carbon nanotubes with different inner diameters, ultrafine wires
with various diameters could be produced, which were for example formed of two or four atomic
chains. In comparison to macroscopic europium crystals, the
atomic wires demonstrate significantly different electronic and magnetic
nanowires are an ideal model for the study of one-dimensional phenomena.
The researchers now aim to test the properties of the wires with respect
to their suitability for use as “wiring” for nanoelectronic components.
Congratulations to V. Ramakrishnan, T. A. Steitz, and A. Yonath on the receipt of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Yonath is a member of the editorial board of our sister journal ChemBioChem; current reviews by her are available on request.