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Revolutionary nanotechnology: Carbon is paving the way

on December 6, 2013

Gigaom

Nanotechnology, the study and application of extremely small things (less than one-hundred-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair), is revolutionizing the way the world thinks about materials.

Carbon provides one of the best raw materials for nanotechnology. The discovery of fullerenes — a new form of carbon shaped like a nanometer-scale soccer ball — in the mid 1980s opened the door to research and development on a remarkable new class of materials, including carbon nanotubes (CNT) and graphene.

CNT are like straws of pure carbon bonded in hexagons. Just one-sixth of the density of steel but 100 times stronger in many ways, CNT is the poster child of nanotechnology that launched a materials revolution.

CNT fabrics are at the heart of Lockheed Martin’s nano-electronics work, producing memory and logic devices that deliver high performance in space and other demanding environments.

The fairly recent discovery of graphene, another…

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