The carbon nanotubes industry is primarily research and development-oriented. This provides lucrative opportunities for operating players to develop innovative products in the market. Besides, the scope of applications of these products has increased amid varied end-user industries, including electricals & electronics, aerospace & defense, energy, automotive, construction, life science & healthcare, and others. Established players are heavily investing in research and development activities to develop new commercial applications. Moreover, Various government organizations are also offering financial subsidies and incentives to companies for conducting research activities.
Some of the recent technological advancements in carbon nanotubes are:
- The Mattershift company, a New York-based startup, recently discovered the manufacturing of a large-scale carbon nanotube membrane. CNT membranes are known to offer tremendous uses, such as low-cost manufacture of ethanol fuel, low-energy desalination of seawater, high-performance catalysts for the production of fuels, precision drug delivery, etc. The difficulty in manufacturing, along with the high cost, has limited the usage of CNT membranes. Hence, accomplishing large-scale manufacture of carbon nanotube membranes is considered to be an innovation in the field of membranes.
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) new innovation crossroads program’s one of three startups, SkyNano Technologies, has successfully established an open system manufacturing method to manufacture high-value, low-cost, carbon nanotubes.
- Researchers from Spain successfully developed a biosensor that can detect yeast infections faster than the existing technique. The electric current of the device is altered, when the transistor comprising antibodies set to attack the Candida yeast cells & carbon nanotubes is brought into interaction with a cell sample, the interface between the yeast & antibodies.
- Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand recently found a way to increase the electrical conductivity in carbon nanotubes. This is achieved by incorporating the spin properties of the gadolinium (rare earth element) into the carbon nanotubes.
- Researchers inserted CNT’s into kidney tumors in mice and engaged a near-infrared laser at the tumors. The nanotubes retorted by vibrating and creating sufficient heat to slay the adjacent tumor cells.
- Researchers from the University of North Carolina developed a nanotube-based imaging system, which can capture comparatively sharper and quicker pictures than X-rays or CT scans.
Hence, all such technological innovation and advancement to tap the potential applications have been increasing the commercial use of carbon nanotubes in various end-user industries.