Carbon Nanotube Knife Like Cheese Slicer

A prototype carbon nanotube "knife" has been developed on the same basic principle as a wire cheese slicer. The device stretches an individual nanotube between two tungsten needles, which is then pulled through a suitably soft sample.


(SEM micrograph showing a mechanical bending test
of the nanotube being pushed by the AFM tip.)

"We stretched an individual nanotube between two tungsten needles in a manner that allowed us to test the mechanical strength of assembled device" Gurpreet Singh tells Nanowerk. "A force test on the prototype nanoknife indicated that failure was at the weld while the CNT was unaffected by the force we applied. In situ load tests on the nanoknife indicated maximum breaking force to be in micro Newton range."

Singh, a postdoctoral associate at the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory at Virginia Tech's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science(ICTAS), is first author of a recent paper in Nanotechnology that demonstrates the fabrication and characterization of a carbon nanotube-based nanoknife.

Singh explains that, in biotechnology and medical studies, the three-dimensional cryo-electron microscopy of frozen–hydrated samples is important for structural and functional studies of cells.

"An intrinsic problem to cutting sections of frozen–hydrated samples with conventional diamond or glass knives is that the angle included at the knife’s cutting edge bends the sections sharply away from the block face, inducing compressive stresses on the upper surface of the section relative to the bottom, which leads to cracking of the sample surface when it is laid flat," he says. "A possible solution to this problem is to use a multi- walled carbon nanotube in place of a conventional diamond knife. This device would reduce the angle by which the sample is bent during cutting, due to the small diameter of a carbon nanotube."

...a tightly strung metal wire is an effective cutting tool, so long as the wire and its support are strong and the material is not too hard (think cheese). "One can imagine that CNTs could cut vitreous water, vitrified cells, and other comparatively soft materials in the same way" says Singh. "Maybe, one day, similar devices might even be used for nanosurgery."


(Cutting process being carried out by the nanoknife)

This development was predicted by sf great Arthur C. Clarke in his 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise:

Though Rajasinghe strained his eyes, he could see no trace of any thread or wire connecting the ring through which his finger was hooked and the box that Morgan was operating much like a fisherman reeling in his catch...

"So you do have an invisible wire. Clever - but what use is it, except for parlor tricks?"

"The reason you can't see it is this sample is only a few microns thick. Much thinner than a spider's web... it's a continuous pseudo-one-dimensional diamond crystal..."

"Fascinating," whispered Rajasinghe, almost to himself. He gave little tugs on the ring hooked around his finger, to test that the tension was still there and that he was not hallucinating. "I can appreciate that this may have all sorts of technical applications. It would make a splendid cheese cutter."
(Read more about Clarke's 1D diamond crystal aka hyperfilament.)

From Nanowerk. Also, for those who are mystified by the cheese slicer analogy, here's a wire cheese slicer video.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/24/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 5 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'- Philip K. Dick, 1957.

Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.' - Philip K. Dick, 1966.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'

ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'

Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbot’s infrared eyes.'

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.