NASA Spinoff

Nanotube Production Devices Expand Research Capabilities

According to Nanotech Innovations, the carbon nanotubes produced by the system have low catalyst content (a low amount of impurity), which has been demonstrated by tests and analysis techniques including thermogravimetric analysis, Raman spectrometry, and electron microscopy. An additional advantage is that the technology allows full control of the growth parameters for the desired nanotubes.

Today, the machine is supporting the incorporation of carbon nanotubes into science curricula, research, and product development endeavors. Rice University purchased the SSP-354, and according to Andrew R. Barron, a professor of materials science at Rice, “This instrument adds fabrication of high-quality, multi-walled carbon nanotubes to our repertoire in a simple-to-use-system that even first-year undergraduate students can use.”

North Dakota State’s College of Science also purchased the technology and is integrating it into their nanoscience curriculum. The Akron University Polymer Science Department purchased the SSP-354 for its laboratory and finds the system has become an integral part of its research and development efforts.

“With so many next-generation devices looking to use carbon nanotubes, there’s going to be a big push for lab technicians and other people who are familiar with the synthesis, handling, and applications of carbon nanotubes,” says Flood. “There’s going to be an influx of people that need to be trained in nanotechnology, and carbon nanotubes in particular. We are starting to help to develop a curriculum that can train the next generation of lab technicians.”

At the Ohio State University’s Wright Center for Photovoltaic Innovation and Commercialization, the SSP-354 gives member companies a solution for obtaining high-quality carbon nanotubes for their research and product development. “The ease of use and repeatability of results makes it an ideal instrument for anyone using carbon nanotubes in their work,” says Oleg Kuznetsov, a research scientist with member company Natcore Technology Inc.

Most recently, Nanotech Innovations announced that it signed Nanoscience Instruments Inc. to be the exclusive distributor of the SSP-354 in the United States. The company also announced a new partnership with Strem Chemicals Inc. to sell nanotube arrays produced with the SSP-354.

Flood says NASA played a large part in the success of Nanotech Innovations. “The fact that the genesis of this technology is a NASA technology has helped us and continues to help us,” says Flood. “Now we are the owners, but I think NASA adds a lot of credibility to what we are and what we have.”