Examples of the 3D nanotube structures created by capillary forming (Photo: A. John Hart)
Carbon nanotubes, despite all the technological advances they’re making possible, look pretty boring. When viewed though a microscope, they are, essentially, just straight tubes. Now scientists from the University of Michigan have used a process called “capillary forming” to create nanotubes that resemble twisting spires, concentric rings, and bending petals. It's not about aesthetics though, giving nanotubes complex 3D shapes is seen as an important breakthrough in the development of microdevices and nanomaterials.