Nanotubes turned into superconductors

July 13, 2001 | Source: Technology Review

Scientists have turned the world’s smallest nanotubes into superconductors.

Researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology demonstrated that the world’s smallest nanotubes appear to reach superconductivity at temperatures below 20 degrees Kelvin.

Superconducting nanotubes could one day be used in nanoscale sensors and nanoelectronic devices. Their lack of electrical resistance could mitigate one of nanoelectronics’ anticipated problems: the buildup of heat from tightly packed components.

Researchers say the next challenge is to find ways to dope, or add other atoms to, the nanotubes. If their predictions hold true, doping the nanotubes with lithium or potassium could raise the temperature at which they superconduct, making them more useful in electronic devices.