Boron Nitride Nanotubes More Amenable Than Carbon

"Carbon nanotubes get a lot of press attention, but boron nitride (BN) nanotubes might have superior properties. K.H. Khoo and his colleagues
form University of California performed first-principles calculations on BN nanotubes in the presence of a transverse electric field and found that these systems exhibit dramatic decrease in band gap when subject to strong fields. This effect should be realizable experimentally for the 5 nm or more diameter BN nanotubes, and it may be very important for tuning the band gap of BN nanotubes for practical applications...."
Full story at http://www.physorg.com/news92.html
The idea behind is that we can tune the bandgap. These BN nanotubes have other advantages, either.
Why then so much attention to carbon? Just because it was discovered first?
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In sci.physics, Andrew
wrote on 18 May 2004 15:59:06 GMT

Perhaps -- there's also the issue that carbon's probably cheaper. :-)
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Carbon is cheaper as material but it doesn't mean automatically that end product is also cheap. It you read the article carefully, you will find a lot of advantages which might play a crutual role and make BN nanotube applications much cheaper than carbon. For example, temp stability to oxidation, properties independence on diameter and number of layers the tube is made from (!), by doping BN tubes, it is conceivable to have devices on single BN tubes which have diameters on the order of nanometers and lengths on the order of microns, etc.
All those could make applications much cheaper!
So my question remains. Why so much talks about carbon?
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Andrew wrote:

Historically, BN has had the potential to substitute for the "Wonder of Carbon" for at least 75 years. There are papers that go back that far, or nearly so. I remember reading such papers written in the 1950's.
For the most part, it (BN) has rarely done so (replace carbon). At least not in large tonnages or poundages even.
Perhaps the old farts remember some of this history.
Perhaps, they let the history blind them.
I am not involved, but I would bet even money that BN will be presennt with many limitations in this specific arena. I would even bet against BN, for an affordable amount of money, of course.
It could be that BN has a happy future in nano-country. Go ahead and spend the time trying to develop it, as you could become famous or rich.
I would look for something else to do with my time.
Jim
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andrew snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Andrew) wrote in message

Thanks for the story -- haven't been keeping up on BN nanotubes lately. I guess it's because the BN nanotubes are much harder to make. I've read that ball-milling and laser ablation has been making very tiny trace amounts of them, but nothing with consistent properties yet.
What about chiral vector affecting the BN nanotube properties?
I've read that BN nanotubes would have stronger tensile strength, have oxidation resistance, have better bandgap properties, and have accordion-like buckling characteristics for impact absorption. Gee, I wonder if they can do the muscle-contraction thing under bi-layer charge injection, like C-nanotubes can?
BN group is polar, unlike C, therefore I wonder if that can help BN-nanotube cohesion, and adhesion to other polar molecules.
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