From bucky pearls to armchair quantum wires

PRES 43

Hua Fan1, A. Nicholas G. Parra-Vasquez, alario33@rice.edu2, Richard Booker1, Zheyi Chen, zychen@rice.edu1, Wen-Fang Hwang, whwang@rice.edu1, Robert Hauge, Hauge@rice.edu1, Matteo Pasquali, mp@rice.edu3, and Richard E. Smalley4. (1) Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice University, 6100 Main St. MS100, Houston, TX 77005, (2) Department of Chemical Engineering, Rice University, 6100 Main St. MS-362, Houston, TX 77005, (3) Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice University, 6100 Main St. MS-362, Houston, TX 77005, (4) Department of Chemistry, Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, MS 100, Houston, TX 77005
We report progress on our efforts of converting purified single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) into continous fibers. This process is key to the eventual development of the Armchair Quantum Wire (AQW), a continuous wire of perfectly aligned, neat, all-metallic, armchair SWNTs. The AQW will be invaluable for the next generation of aerospace applications, electric propulsion and power distribution applications. Purified neat SWNTs in the form of bucky pearls are disentangled with a new process to prepare a starting material which is easier to mix and yields better aligned SWNTs fibers. We introduce a new process of co-extrusion of SWNTs and rigid rod polymers to further align the SWNTs in the core by drawing of a co-flowing sheath of polymer solution. This process preserves the electrical conductivity of SWNTs because the SWNTs and the polymers don't intermix, at the same time, the polymeric sheath provides additional mechanical support.