Carbon nanotubes have promised some incredible advances in power efficiency, but one of the most promising (and most realistic) is boosting the capacity of lithium-ion batteries by a factor of two in the near term, and eventually by five. Suddenly, your electronics that last all day will be lasting all week instead.
Scientists have created a sensor so accurate it can now measure the weight of a single proton. The super scale uses the smallest unit of mass as a measurement, a single yoctogram, whereas previous sensors could only get within 100 yoctograms — a large margin at that scale.
Let me just say that one more time: laser-powered carbon nanotube exploding drug grenades. We have them.
It seems like carbon nanotubes are capable of doing just about anything we ask them to, from making space elevators a reality to ushering in the next generation of energy storage systems. They also have lots of biological applications, and researchers at Stanford are using fluorescent ones to see inside the bodies of living animals.
In our never-ending quest to make the technology we use smaller — I mean, the iPod Nano should really be nanoscopic, right? — we need to keep producing denser and more powerful component parts. One such part? The microchip. Despite the name, they're just not small enough, but they could be soon.
By converting some of the wires inside memory chips into carbon nanotubes, researchers say that they could boost the battery life of cell phones and laptops and other mobile electronics by a factor of 100.
By turning powders into fibers using carbon nanotube webs, researchers at the University of Texas have managed to make yarn that can clean itself and work as a battery. It also happens to be a superconductor, but most importantly, it's machine-washable.
Angsty NASA scientists have developed a new type of paint from carbon nanotubes that's an order of magnitude blacker than the blackest black you can possibly imagine. My mood in the mornings has nothing on this.