NASA’s Super-Black Carbon Nanotubes Developed through Science Exchange

July 17, 2013 | Posted by Team in Company, Research, Science Exchange News, Stories |
Principal Investigator John Hagopian working with a nanotube material sample. Image Credit: NASA Goddard/Chris Gunn

Principal Investigator John Hagopian working with a nanotube material sample.
Image Credit: NASA Goddard/Chris Gunn

A collaboration formed on Science Exchange has lead to new developments in the production of carbon nanotube forests – the blackest materials ever measured! The research resulted from a partnership between NASA and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN), a part of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF).

“NASA and the ANFF’s research is monumental, and we are thrilled to have been part of such an important development in nanotechnology,” said our CEO Dr. Elizabeth Iorns.“Scientists can now access the vast expertise available globally to produce powerful partnerships that lead to innovative research.”

An International Collaboration

The NASA team and MCN connected using Science Exchange when NASA was searching for a way to coat instrument components with a thin film, and continue development on their super-black material.

The NASA team, lead by Principal Investigator John Hagopian, was able to submit an open RFQ and identify the MCN as a capable provider based on the expertise and novel deposition platforms offered, forming an ideal overseas partnership to develop NASA’s intricate nanotubes.

A New Method for Carbon Nanotube Growth

Atomic layer deposition expert, Lachlan Hyde, at Australia’s Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication. Image Credit: MCN

Atomic layer deposition expert, Lachlan Hyde, at Australia’s Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication.
Image Credit: MCN

The carbon nanotubes were the product of the NASA team’s ongoing effort to increase the blackness of their nanotubes, which subsequently improved the robustness and application of nanotube technology.

In order to achieve these unique spectral properties, a uniform film of nanoparticles or iron oxide needed to be meticulously and uniformly applied to the nanotubes. A technique called Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) was perfect for this procedure, and the MCN’s ALD specialist, Lachlan Hyde assisted through Science Exchange.

“The growth of nanotubes directly onto an ALD catalyst is a new and emerging technique,” said Hagopian. “I am extremely impressed with the quality of the work that ANFF performed and the professionalism of everyone involved. Both their ALD process development and characterization capabilities are world class. We intend to continue our collaboration and look for additional opportunities to leverage their capabilities to increase our speed of technology development.”

An Online Platform For Cutting Edge Research   

“The ability to easily connect with an expert from another hemisphere has the potential to change the way scientific partnerships form and complete research,” said Iorns. “Science Exchange hopes to continue the record of excellence set by the NASA and MCN teams by promoting connectivity and communication in the scientific community.”

Check out more all of the top-notch nano services offered by the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication here.

Or browse any of Science Exchange’s 2000+ experiments here.

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