Page 1 of 3


Forthcoming Applications of Carbon Nanotubes

Yousheng Tao

Institute of Carbon Science and Technology, Shinshu University, Nagano 380-8553, Japan; e-mail: tao@endomoribu.shinshu.ac.jp

Keywords: Carbon nanotubes, products, applications



Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attractive electrical, optical, thermal, and mechanical properties, which have been described in detail in reviews and books [1-4]. Over the last decade, interest in CNTs has increased dramatically (Fig. 1). However, there are two critical factors limiting their practical application. One such factor is the need to mass-produce CNTs at low cost. At present, catalytic chemical vapor deposition (CCVD) methods, particularly the floating catalyst method, are considered to be the most optimum methods for large-scale production of CNTs [5,6]. The post-synthesis process including repeated acid reflux and annealing cycles is generally used to purify the as-grown CNTs. The other factor limiting CNTs’ practical application is their potential toxicity and biological incompatibility; clear conclusions have not yet been reached regarding either of these concerns [7-12]. Although this critical “CNT safety issue” requires time-consuming biological studies, some promising studies have reported effective means to improve the biocompatibility of CNTs [11,12]. For example, high-temperature, thermally treated CNTs have shown excellent biocompatibility compared with that of as-grown CNTs [11]. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) doped with nitrogen would be more biocompatible than non-doped MWCNTs or other types of CNTs, such as single-walled carbon nanotubes and double-walled carbon nanotubes, suggesting that MWCNTs could be modified to lower their toxicity [12].


Fig. 1. Trends in the number of publications
about CNTs and their practical
applications (Source: ISI Web of Science).

As fundamental research on CNTs continues to advance, their practical applications become notable [6,13-15]. Except that some power of CNTs is over estimated for such as the hydrogen uptake [16], practical application of CNTs in medical devices, energy devices, and composites is upcoming.

Copyright © 2009 BenSci. All rights reserved