PerspectiveMaterials Science

Designer Nanotubes by Molecular Self-Assembly

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Science  04 Jun 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5676, pp. 1457-1458
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099568

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For the most part, nanotechnologists have pursued a top-down approach, in which nanostructures are created, modified, and manipulated by machine. In their Perspective, Blau and Fleming discuss results reported in the same issue by Hill et al. in which a bottom-up method--molecular self-assembly--is studied. The researchers present an example of a hexabenzocoronene that spontaneously assembles into extremely defect-free large nanotubes. Such an approach may offer an alternative to the much more widespread efforts at nanodevice fabrication involving carbon nanotubes.