Both theory and experiment show extraordinary structures and properties of carbon nanotubes. The small dimensions, strength and the remarkable chemical and physical properties of these structures enable a broad range of promising applications.
A SWNT can be metallic and semiconducting, dependent on its chirality. Semiconducting SWNTs have been used to fabricate transistors, memory and logic devices, and optoelectronic devices. SWNT nanoelectronics can be further used for chemical and biological sensors, optical and optoelectronic devices, energy storage, and filed emissions. However, it is currently not possible to selectively control the tube chirality or obtain either metallic or semiconducting SNWTs. These constraints in addition to problems of nanoscale contacts and interconnects stand in the way of large-scale fabrications and integration and applications of CNT electronics.
A MWNT basically behaves like a metal or semimetal because of the dominating larger outermost tube. Therefore, MWNTs are suitable for nanoelectrodes, field emission, and energy storage applications. In these applications, the tube chirality control is not critical. But MWNTs allow incorporation of diverse defects, which significantly affect electrical and mechanic properties. Exploiting the diverse structure and properties discussed here for a variety of applications will be the subjects of several chapters later in this book.
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