The Sceptical Chymist | A nanotube fix

Published in Chemistry

Being an associate editor of Nature Nanotechnology, I now know a lot more about carbon nanotubes that I ever thought I would. There’s a lot I don’t know, however, and I was surprised by what I learned today…

Every now and then I need to look up some interesting (or otherwise) little fact about nanotubes and just get an idea of what the popular terminology is, i.e., is it a ‘chirality vector’ or a ‘chiral vector’? I won’t spoil that one for you. Anyway, first port of call, as with a lot of people, is the web, and, in particular, Wikipedia. Now, I know that any information garnered from Wikipedia might not necessarily be 100% accurate, but it’s a good place to start for casual references.

So, as I was scanning through the entry on carbon nanotubes, I was interested to see how their cost is normalized to the price of a more widely known chemical product in society:

Single-walled nanotubes are still very expensive to produce, around $1500 per gram as of 2000 (compared to marijuana, which generally costs between $10 and $30 per gram, depending on who you know and how sweet the nug is), and the development of more affordable synthesis techniques is vital to the future of carbon nanotechnology.

I don’t know if this is Wkipedia vandalism or not… anyway, maybe this new standard will give the Big Mac index a run for its money…


Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)

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