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Alternative approach to the synthesis of nanoscale structures

This invention provides an alternative approach to the synthesis of nanoscale structures based on nanotubes - specifically, tubes that are converted to carbide rods by reaction with volatile oxide and/or halide species. Solid carbide nanorods of TiC, NbC, Fe3C, SiC and BCx have been prepared in high yields with typical diameters ranging between 2 and 30 nm and lengths of up to 20 mm. Studies show that these rods share the properties of their macroscopic counterparts (i.e., magnetism and superconductivity), suggesting the possibility of successfully miniaturizing existing forms.

Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) Pending

Applications

The wide range of nanorod morphologies and properties indicates that these materials represent important building blocks for nanostructures. For instance, current flowing through the helical, metallic nanorods can create a modulated magnetic field that might be exploited for sensing or manipulation. The small diameters and variety of chemical compositions available for these carbide nanorodes could also make them useful as chemically specific reinforcements in metal and ceramic matrix composites, as well as ideal structures with which to pin vortices in high-temperature superconductors. Airplane wings, mountain bike frames, magnetic recording heads, computer chips (atom size wiring), microscopy probes, building material parts, and bullet proof glass are just some of the potential real life applications.

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