Photonics Dictionary


A nanotube, also known as a nanotubule or simply a tube-like structure, is a nanoscale cylindrical structure composed of various materials, including carbon, boron nitride, or other compounds. Nanotubes have unique physical and chemical properties due to their small size and specific atomic arrangement, making them of significant interest in various scientific and technological fields.

One of the most well-known types of nanotubes is the carbon nanotube (CNT), which is composed of carbon atoms arranged in a cylindrical structure. Carbon nanotubes exhibit exceptional strength, electrical conductivity, and thermal conductivity, making them valuable in a wide range of applications.

Carbon nanotubes:

Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs): These consist of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a cylindrical structure. They can exhibit metallic or semiconducting properties depending on their structure.

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs): These consist of multiple concentric layers of graphene sheets rolled into a cylindrical structure. MWCNTs often have different electronic properties than SWCNTs.

Boron nitride nanotubes:

Structure: Similar to carbon nanotubes, boron nitride nanotubes consist of boron and nitrogen atoms arranged in a cylindrical structure. They share some properties with carbon nanotubes but have different electrical characteristics.


Materials science: Nanotubes are used to enhance the mechanical and electrical properties of materials, such as polymers and composites.

Electronics: Carbon nanotubes are investigated for their potential use in nanoscale electronic devices and interconnects.

Nanotechnology: Nanotubes play a role in nanotechnology applications, including nanoscale sensors, drug delivery systems, and nanoscale imaging.

Synthesis methods:

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD): Commonly used for the growth of carbon nanotubes on a substrate.

Arc discharge and laser ablation: Techniques for producing carbon nanotubes in bulk quantities.

Template-based methods: Involving the use of templates to guide the growth of nanotubes.

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