A single-walled carbon nanotube, or SWNT, can be pictured as a graphene sheet rolled into a cylinder.
Transparent and flexible carbon nanotube films -- that is, 2-D structures formed by intersecting nanotubes -- have a wide variety of potential applications, for example as supercapacitors or transparent electrodes in flexible electronics -- electronic devices that can be bent, folded, and twisted without breaking.
The physicists measured optical and electrical properties of the films by terahertz-infrared spectroscopy at a variety of temperatures, from -268 degrees Celsius to room temperature, and in a wide range of incident radiation wavelengths -- from ultraviolet to terahertz (wavelengths of about 1 millimeter).
On their surface, carbon monoxide (CO) disproportionation -- simultaneous oxidation and reduction -- occurs and finally SWNTs grow.
By varying the duration of the collection time, one could obtain the films of different thicknesses.
This method enables the production of high-quality nanotubes with no amorphous carbon impurities.