David Pacchioli
January 01, 2002

A team led by Vincent Crespi, Downsbrough associate professor of physics, has simulated carbon nanotubes that are smaller and stronger than any other fiber. Using supercomputers in California, Michigan, and Texas to model the electronic states and total energies of various carbon molecules, Crespi and his colleagues discovered a tetrahedral carbon atom that creates tight and stable bonds to form tiny tubes only six atoms across—the smallest diameter theoretically possible. "Based on our calculations, these new nanotubes are about 40 percent stronger" than existing tubes, Crespi says. Although the new tubes haven't yet been synthesized, "several physicists and chemists are interested in making them," he adds. "They may prove very useful in nanotechnology applications."

Vincent Crespi, Ph.D., is Downsbrough associate professor of physics, Eberly College of Science, 218 Davey Lab; 814-863-0163,

Last Updated January 01, 2002