Carbon Nanotubes -- tiny tubes about 10,000 times thinner than a human hair -- consist of rolled up sheets of carbon hexagons. Discovered in 1991 by researchers at NEC, they have the potential for use as minuscule wires or in ultrasmall electronic devices. To build those devices, scientists must be able to manipulate the Nanotubes in a controlled way. IBM researchers using an atomic force microscope (AFM), an instrument whose tip can apply accurately measured forces to atoms and molecules, have recently devised a means of changing a nanotube's position, shape and orientation, as well as cutting it.
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