Topology, structure and defects in carbon nanosystems

author: Chris P. Ewels, Institute of Materials (IMN), University of Nantes
published: May 9, 2007,   recorded: May 2007,   views: 7153


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In this talk we will explore how in the last twenty years carbon science has made the fundamental step from the flat world of graphite into the three dimensional world of fullerenes and nanotubes, the building blocks of the carbon nanotechnology revolution. We will look at the history of the discovery of buckminsterfullerene and carbon nanotubes, and explore analogies in diverse fields of biology, architecture and sport.

The understanding of defects in nanocarbons is essential in order to control their diverse properties. For example irradiating bundles of carbon nanotubes produces defects which increase their bending strength by a factor of 16. At the same time such defects can store energy and were the cause of the UK “Windscale” nuclear fire in the 1950s. Recent advances in computational modelling and electron microscopy mean that we now have a much better understanding of the structure, formation and evolution of intrinsic defects, opening up the intriguing possibility of selective spatial creation of defects – atomic level defect engineering.

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