Professor Yoshikazu Honma of Tokyo University of Science (Department of Physics, Faculty of Science), in joint research with Yoshihiro Kobayashi (Senior Researcher at NTT Basic Research Laboratories) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency, has succeeded in synthesizing high-quality monolayer carbon nanotubes using, as catalysts, various metals previously considered incapable of generating carbon nanotubes (such as gold, silver and copper) for the first time in the world.
With their characteristics of low weight, high intensity and good electrothermal conductivity, much is expected of carbon nanotubes as materials that will help form the infrastructure for next-generation industry, and research in the field has been thriving. Until now, however, much has been unknown about the mechanism whereby they are generated, and methods of synthesis are also a subject of ongoing research. This research achievement overturns conventional wisdom to show that carbon nanotubes can also be generated from any kind of metal. It is a discovery that is not only of fundamental importance to the mechanism of carbon nanotube generation, but can also be expected to lead to the establishment of a synthesis method with a high level of control using new catalysts. A more detailed discussion of this research can be found in the December 13 issue of "Nanoletters", a scientific journal published by the American Chemical Society. (Details due to be posted in advance on the journal's online version from November 24th.)