Boron nanotubes

The New Scientist reports onboron nanotubes that will have many superior properties over carbon nanotubes

According to Xiaobao Yang, Yi Ding and Jun Ni from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, the best configuration for boron is to take the unstable hexagon lattice and add an extra atom to the centre of some of the hexagons (see image, top right). They calculate that this is the most stable known theoretical structure for a boron nanotube.

Their simulation also shows that, with this pattern, boron nanotubes should have variable electrical properties: wider ones would be metallic conductors, but narrower ones should be semiconductors. If so, then boron tubes might be used in nanodevices similar to the diodes and transistors that have already been made from carbon nanotubes, says Ni.

Metallic boron nanotubes would still be useful, however, as they should be better conductors than carbon, and be superconducting at higher temperatures so if a superconducting nanocomputer is ever built, it might have boron wiring.

To actually make the boron tubes, Ni suggests chemical vapour deposition, which is a process already used to grow carbon nanotubes

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Saw your comment over on Open the Future about nuclear power (Stewart Brand, etc.) I left a comment too, but did it in a hurry so it ended up somewhere else in cyberspace.

I put up the picture graphic of the cubic mile of oil on our bulletin board at the old nuke plant last month, replacing the article about the Ford motor company's plan for a nuclear car in the 1950s.

I may have mentioned this here before - if so, forgive my repetition: Stewart Brand has also endorsed my insider novel of nuclear power (I've been in the business over twenty years) as a good way to get acquainted with the current technology and politics of this wacky energy source. Rad Decision is available at no cost online at" REL="nofollow"> or you can pick up a paperback at online retailers (from which I get no royalties). I think proponents and skeptics alike can learn from it - so perhaps they'd occaisionally be talking from the same book, if not the same page. (And the part in it about the troll breeding center is really cool.)

James Aach

"I'd like to see Rad Decision widely read." - Stewart Brand