Applied Physics

A Bright Idea for Nanotubes?

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Science  11 Jun 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5677, pp. 1569
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5677.1569b

The design of the incandescent electric lightbulb, invented over 130 years ago, has, on the whole, not changed much since then. A metal filament is enclosed within an evacuated glass bulb and an electrical current is passed through it. The inefficient conversion into light is a problem, however, as is evident from more efficient lightbulb technologies entering the market. Wei et al. now bring some nanotechnology onto the scene by replacing the tungsten filament with strands of single-walled and multiwalled carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotube filaments light up at lower voltages and are more efficient than their tungsten filament counterparts. Perhaps this simple demonstration is a first clearly visible example of nanotechnology delivering on the promises made for it in the production of more efficient technologies. — ISO

Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 4869 (2004).

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