CARBON nanotubes1 are expected to have a wide variety of interesting properties. Capillarity in open tubes has already been demonstrated2–5, while predictions regarding their electronic structure6–8 and mechanical strength9 remain to be tested. To examine the properties of these structures, one needs tubes with well defined morphologies, length, thickness and a number of concentric shells; but the normal carbon-arc synthesis10,11 yields a range of tube types. In particular, most calculations have been concerned with single-shell tubes, whereas the carbon-arc synthesis produces almost entirely multi-shell tubes. Here we report the synthesis of abundant single-shell tubes with diameters of about one nanometre. Whereas the multi-shell nanotubes are formed on the carbon cathode, these single-shell tubes grow in the gas phase. Electron diffraction from a single tube allows us to confirm the helical arrangement of carbon hexagons deduced previously for multi-shell tubes1.
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Iijima, S., Ichihashi, T. Single-shell carbon nanotubes of 1-nm diameter. Nature 363, 603–605 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1038/363603a0
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