To design, build or self-assemble objects at the nano scale, or one one billionth of a meter, you need a series of building blocks, like the alphabet that goes on to make coherent sentences and stories.
Last Friday I gave a talk on nanotechnology at CIELAP, that looked at about 17 basic nano-building blocks. Now you can add one more to the growing list.
Here's another major milestone involving functionalized carbon nanotubes. They can now be used as a memory storage medium, a world first, as far as I know. This discovery could have far reaching implications.
US Patent 7335408 - CNT with magnetic or metal inner coating
Electronics manufacturers have a great interest in novel storage media, especially at the nanoscale . Imagine a nano-magnetic medium for high density data storage devices. This patent from Fujitsu and Tohoku University offers a method for coating the inner surfaces of nanotubes with magnetic or metal material for information storage and other purposes .... I can think of a range of applications, both good ones (such as medical and environmental sensors, smart money that tracks itself, and intelligent implants) and bad ones (ubiquitous surveillance from above, below and within) !!
Stepping into McLuhan's shoes, we could ask ourselves.
What does this technology enhance? Instant feedback, our moral, ethical and ecological conscience,
What does it obsolesce? Privacy, as we know it today, the mystique and wonderment of nature, careless or overt pollution
What does it retrieve or bring back? global and local Sense-making, presencing, a new wisdom of the ages, back to our "nano-roots", a long lost 6th sense?
At the extreme, what does it reverse or flip into? A second layer; nervous-system for the earth?
A carbon nanotube composite material contains a carbon nanotube and a continuous layer of a metal covering the inner surface of the carbon nanotube. It is produced by forming a metallic matrix layer and treating the metallic matrix layer to form plural nanoholes in the metallic matrix layer to thereby form a nanohole structure, the nanoholes extending in a direction substantially perpendicular to the plane of the metallic matrix layer; forming carbon nanotubes inside the nanoholes; and covering inner surfaces of the carbon nanotubes with a continuous layer of a metal. It has a well controlled small size, has excellent and uniform physical properties, is resistant to oxidation of the metal with time, is highly chemically stable, has good durability enabling repetitive use, has good coatability, high wettability and dispersibility with other materials, is easily chemically modified, is easily handled and is useful in various fields.
Claims 1,6 and 7 read as follows:
1. A carbon nanotube composite material comprising: a carbon nanotube; and a continuous layer of a metal covering an inner surface of the carbon nanotube, wherein the carbon nanotube is closed at one end and open at the other end.
6. A magnetic material comprising: a carbon nanotube; and a continuous layer of a magnetic metal covering an inner surface of the carbon nanotube, wherein the carbon nanotube is closed at one end and open at the other end.
7. A magnetic material according to claim 6, wherein the magnetic metal comprises at least one selected from the group consisting of Fe, Co, Ni, FeCo, FeNi, CoNi, CoNiP, FePt, CoPt and NiPt.
see patent here