This week’s blog sees a very creative graphic used to illustrate the growth of nanotubes from molecular seeds. Nature’s Art Director Kelly Krause talks us through the selective process and cover design.
The electronic properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are extraordinarily sensitive to their precise structure. To exploit their technological potential fully, samples containing only one SWCNT type are needed. Juan Ramon Sanchez-Valencia et al. have combined synthetic chemistry with materials engineering to develop a strategy that, with further optimization, could provide a route to nanotube-based materials for use in light detectors, photovoltaics, field-effect transistors and sensors. They use a surface-catalysed cyclodehydrogenation reaction to fold rationally designed precursor molecules deposited on a Pt(111) surface to produce ‘end caps’ that act as seeds for the growth of defect-free and structurally pure SWCNTs. The technique requires only modest temperatures and is fully compatible with today’s complementary metal oxide semiconductor technologies. Cover: Konstantin Amsharov.
From the Art Desk:
Art Director, Kelly Krause, explains:
“As explained in the cover caption above, and in this helpful News and View graphic (below), the research team were able to create SWCNTs in a predicable ‘armchair’ pattern. This cover image, created by Konstantin Amsharov, one of the authors, is obviously an artistic take on the research. The dynamism and creativity of the image really drew our attention.
“When I asked Roman Fasel, one of the authors, about the art, he explained:
‘The basic idea behind the graphic is to illustrate the growth of nanotubes from molecular seeds. The image is an artist view on carbon nanotubes growing from molecular seeds upon feeding the seeds with a carbon feedstock gas such as ethylene.’
“In the context of the cover, I believe creative, artistic representations to be a completely appropriate approach,” adds Krause.
For additional behind the scenes commentary each week, check out the Nature Art Team’s Nature Graphics Tumblr and the previous Under the Covers on quantum trajectories that connect two points in quantum state space.