Topics in Applied Physics Volume 111, 2008, pp 631-671

Inorganic Nanotubes and Fullerene-Like Structures (IF)

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Abstract

Back in 1992 it was proposed that nanoparticles of layered compounds will beunstable against folding and will close up into fullerene-like structures (IF) andnanotubes. In the years that followed nanotubes and fullerene-like structureswere synthesized from numerous compounds with layered structure. Morerecently, crystalline and noncrystalline nanotubes of compounds with a 3D, i.e.,quasi-isotropic lattice have been intensively investigated. In view of their eminentapplications potential, much effort and substantial progress has been achieved inthe scaling-up of the synthesis of inorganic nanotubes and fullerene-likenanoparticles of WS2 and MoS2 and also other compounds. Early on it wassuggested that hollow nano-octahedra consisting of a few hundred MoS2moieties make the true analogs of C60, etc. This notion has been advancedconsiderably in recent years through a combined experimental–theoreticaleffort.Substantial progress has been accomplished in the use of such nanoparticlesfor tribological applications and lately for impact resilient nanocomposites.These tests indicated that IF-MoS2 and IF-WS2 are heading for large-scaleapplications in the automotive, machining, aerospace, electronics, defense, medicaland numerous other kinds of industries. A few products based on thesenanoparticles have been recently commercialized by “ApNano Materials, Inc”(“NanoMaterials, Ltd.”, see also www.apnano.com). Most recently, a manufacturingfacility for the commercialization of these nanomaterials has been erectedand sales of the product started. Novel applications of inorganic nanotubesand fullerene-like nanoparticles in the fields of catalysis; microelectronics;Li rechargeable batteries; medical and optoelectronics will be discussed.