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Carbon nanotube and carbon nanohorn

Tokai Carbon jointly studies cutting-edge nanotechnology with two public research institutes

Nanotechnology is one of the key sciences pursued by the Japanese industry. Fullerene, carbon nanotube and carbon nanohorn are the three major materials representing nanotechnology. Carbon nanotubes have a cylindrical structure, with a diameter of only several nanometers, composed of a sheet of linked hexagonal rings of carbon atoms. They have thermal conductivity as high as or even higher than that of metals and are as strong as diamond. Richard E. Smalley, professor of Rice University of the U.S. and Co-Laureate of the 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry, notes: “carbon nanotubes are the most versatile material on earth with an infinite number of potential applications.” In fact, carbon nanotubes are expected to be used in a wide variety of applications, not only as a filler of compound materials, but also as a material for fuel cells and secondary batteries, electron emitters for flat panel displays and electronic devices replacing current semiconductors.

The essence of nanotechnology is how to control materials at atomic and molecular levels. As an all-round manufacturer of carbon materials, Tokai Carbon has a 60-year experience in developing nano-level controlling technology for carbon black, which takes the form of aggregated nano-sized carbon spheres linked together. Based on these technologies of carbon synthesis, we are jointly working with Japan Fine Ceramics Center and Toyohashi University of Technology, respectively, in studying methods of mass synthesis of carbon nanotubes and nanohorns.

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Japan Fine Ceramics Center

Japan Fine Ceramics Center (JFCC) studies methods of synthesizing carbon nanotubes by using surface decomposition of silicon carbide (SiC), the method developed by Chief Researcher Michiko Kusunoki. Carbon nanotubes synthesized at JFCC are known for their extremely high orientation (photo right).

Toyohashi University of Technology

Tokai Carbon is working with Associate Professor Hirofumi Takikawa from Toyohashi University of Technology to study the method of synthesizing carbon nanotubes using arc discharge in the ambient atmosphere. Using this method, we successfully synthesized highly crystallized nanotubes with lower cost and also produced carbon nanohorns by setting different synthetic conditions (photo right).

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