Wednesday, June 25, 2008

US Patent 7390477 - High purity nanotube compositions

This patent originating from Richard Smalley's group at Rice University is a continuation patent based on earlier patents with priority going back to 1997. These earlier patents were mostly focused on single walled carbon nanotubes, however this patent seems to broaden the scope to include a wider variety of nanotube types (multiwalled carbon nanotubes and perhaps even fullerene-like nanotubes formed from non-carbon materials such as boron nitride). Since multiwalled nanotubes may be easier to produce and useful as field emission material for displays, thermally conductive material for heat sinks, and electrically conductive material for flexible electrodes this patent may be particularly significant. Claim 1 reads:

1. A composition of matter comprising at least about 99% by weight of fullerene nanotubes.