Researchers at DuPont and Lehigh University have reported the next step in the production of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) suitable for electronics, lasers, sensors and biomedicine.
Currently CNTs need to be disentangled from a mixture after production and purified into separate species of the same electronic type.
In 2003, a team of scientists from DuPont, MIT and the University of Illinois developed a method of separating metallic CNTs from semiconducting CNTs using single-stranded DNA and anion-exchange chromatography.
Now that research has been expanded through the identification of more than 20 DNA short sequences that can recognise difference species of CNTs.
"If you choose the DNA sequence correctly, it recognises a particular type of CNT and enables us to sort that variety cleanly," commented researcher Anand Jagota.
"This kind of practical improvement brings us closer to manufacturing possibility."
Last month Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz announced that it had managed to grow carbon nanotubes using a metal droplet.