WARF: P99038US

Method and Apparatus for Carbon Nanotube Production


Amit Lal

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method of using ultrasonic vibration of a cathode to increase the length and yield of carbon nanotubes.
OVERVIEWNanotubes are C60 fullerene structures that have a cage-like structure. They are highly desirable for nanoprobing and for creating better carbon fiber composites.

Carbon nanotubes are produced in carbon arcs between a cathode and anode. The nanotubes are formed on the cathode at the locations of the arcs. One problem with current technology is that the arcs are unstable; this disrupts the formation of nanotubes so that the largest produced are only 100 nm in length. Also, unwanted, non-nanotube carbonaceous materials are formed.
THE INVENTIONA UW-Madison researcher has developed a method for driving the cathode ultrasonically, resulting in a high tip acceleration that dislodges large carbon chunks, leaving the lighter nanotubes to form. The method also describes the use of a cooling method on the cathode to diminish the formation of unwanted carbon material. Nanotubes created using this technique are greatly increased in length (greater than one mm) and quantity.
  • Production of carbon nanotubes
  • Significantly increases the length of the nanotubes produced, making them candidates for probing deep crevices like those found on integrated circuits, nanostructures and biological molecules.
  • Increases the yield of nanotubes, making it feasible to create lighter and stronger carbon-fiber composite materials that can be used in the defense, aerospace and automobile markets.
  • Eliminates the need to halt the production process to remove carbon materials from the electrodes
  • Significantly increases the economy and efficiency of carbon nanotube production
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at or 608-960-9845.
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