July 15, 2005 – A research group from the Tokyo University of Science has developed a new and relatively simple way to produce carbon nanotubes in dense groupings likes the bristles of a brush, according to the Nikkei English News.
The procedure involves the use of chemical-vapor deposition to grow the nanotubes on a substrate covered by tiny grains of iron. When a solid material consisting of camphor, a camphor-derived molecule, and ferrocene from iron and carbon is vaporized, multiwalled carbon nanotubes of high purity grow perpendicular to the iron grains spread on the substrate. The process involves neither the strict controls nor the complicated equipment required of conventional methods.
The university group is considering the idea of partnering with industry to develop a mass-production technology for the nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes in dense quantities like the bristles of a brush are used as electrodes in such products as fuel cells. They also hold promise as a catalyst to extract hydrogen fuel from sequestered storage.