Producing Carbon nanotubes by Twisting Ribbon-Like Graphene

University of Jyväskylä - Jyväskylän yliopisto



Graphene is a material made of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is closely related to carbon nanotubes, which are used as reinforcing agents for durable products such as wind turbine parts, spaceship components, smart paints and sports equipment. According to a recent doctoral dissertation in physics and nanoscience, completed at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, carbon nanotubes can be produced in a new way, by twisting ribbon-like graphene.

The properties of folded, bent and twisted graphene at nanoscale are difficult to study theoretically and experimentally. In his dissertation, however,Oleg Kitutilized symmetry, a time-worn concept of theoretical physics, to develop an effective method to run computer experiments on nanostructures under complex deformations.

The new method allows explorations of folding, bending and twisting in more diverse ways than previously. Information about nanostructure properties is obtained by modeling only a few atoms, instead of simulating the whole structures. As the research utilized the laws of quantum mechanics, the method provided also information about changes in the electronic structure of graphene.

The advantage of the technique is that it makes possible studies of structures with millions of atoms that lack traditional symmetries. It enabled simulations which predict that carbon nanotubes can be made by twisting graphene.

EurekAlert!, the online, global news service operated by AAAS, the science society: