Nanocapillarity and Chemistry in Carbon Nanotubes

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Science  13 Dec 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5294, pp. 1897-1899
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5294.1897


Open carbon nanotubes were filled with molten silver nitrate by capillary forces. Only those tubes with inner diameters of 4 nanometers or more were filled, suggesting a capillarity size dependence as a result of the lowering of the nanotube-salt interface energy with increasing curvature of the nanotube walls. Nanotube cavities should also be less chemically reactive than graphite and may serve as nanosize test tubes. This property has been illustrated by monitoring the decomposition of silver nitrate within nanotubes in situ in an electron microscope, which produced chains of silver nanobeads separated by high-pressure gas pockets.

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