SITE VISIT: Tubing Trip

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Science  19 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5469, pp. 1131
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5469.1131d

Discovered just 9 years ago, the tiny cylinders of carbon known as nanotubes have become the hottest variation of the all-carbon hollow molecules called fullerenes. Nanotubes are already in use as tips in atomic-scale microscopes, for example, and are under consideration for applications ranging from tiny tweezers to superconductors to flat TV displays.

The Nanotube Site, run by physicist David Tománek at Michigan State University in East Lansing, serves as both a central Web site for researchers and an introduction to the field. In one subsection, an honors student is compiling the latest published data on tube dimensions, conductance, tensile strength (stiffer than steel, but flexible), and other physical properties that depend on the tube's geometry and whether it's single- or multiwalled. Even for well-studied tubes, however, many properties are still being debated. Back at the main page, visitors will find lists of jobs, meetings, and companies that sell the tubes. Find out more by following over 100 outside links, including researchers' labs, magazine articles, galleries of the lacey structures, and even nanotube poetry.

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