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Graphene tracks for aluminum trains: nanomaterials engineering
One goal of nanoscience is to deliver materials at the nanoscale in a controllable way. Carbon nanotubes are also being used to conduct atoms by means of an electrical current along the tubes, which are chemically and mechanically stable, so they can withstand the high current necessary to achieve this movement.
Graphene shares many of the properties of carbon nanotubes, but it is also flat, so it can be used in conventional surface modification lithographic techniques and therefore potentially on a large scale. However, until now, transport in graphene has not been achieved.
Now, in an important advance, a team led by Adrian Bachtold of the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology of the CSIC, in Barcelona, Spain, together with members of the Kavli Institute of Delft, in the Netherlands, and of the ICMAB-CSIC and ICMM-CSIC from Bellaterra and Madrid, in Spain, has achieved the controlled movement of metal atoms and graphene groups for the first time, using an electric current.
The researchers made a set of crossroads patterned electrodes and were able to make tiny conglomerates of aluminum move first forward and then at right angles to their original motion, by applying a current first and then another in a perpendicular direction.
Source: Material Views