The unique properties of carbon combine perfectly with the molecules of single-walled carbon nanotubes, giving them extraordinary material properties such as very high thermal and electrical conductivity, stiffness, strength and toughness. The use of carbon nanotubes is an example of true nanotechnology: they are only about a nanometer in diameter, but are molecules that can be physically and chemically manipulated in very useful ways. They find an incredible range of applications in electronics, materials science, energy management, chemical processing and many other fields.
The inherent properties of carbon nanotubes make them the material of choice for capacitors and battery electrodes—two technologies that are rapidly growing in importance. Carbon nanotubes have good electrical conductivity, extremely high surface area, and most importantly, their linear geometry makes their surface very accessible to electrolytes. Studies have shown that the use of carbon nanotubes has the highest reversible capacity among all carbon materials used in lithium-ion batteries. Furthermore, carbon nanotubes are excellent materials for supercapacitor electrodes and are currently being marketed for this application.
Furthermore, the use of carbon nanotubes products has applications in various fuel cell components. They possess several properties, such as high thermal conductivity and surface area, that make them valuable as electrode catalyst supports in PEM fuel cells. Due to their high electrical conductivity, they can also be used in gas diffusion layers, in addition to current collectors. The use of carbon nanotubes with high strength and toughness weight properties may also prove useful as part of composite components in fuel cells for transportation applications where durability is paramount.
The exact properties that make CNT a conductive filler useful in ESD materials, electromagnetic shielding, and more make it suitable for interconnect applications and electronic packaging, including coaxial cables, potting compounds, adhesives, and other types of connectors.
The idea of building electronic circuits out of key building blocks of materials -- molecules -- has grown over the past five years and is an essential part of nanotechnology. Interconnections between switches and other active devices become increasingly important in any electronic circuit, especially as dimensions are reduced to the nanometer scale. The ability, conductivity, and geometry of carbon nanotubes to be precisely derived using carbon nanotubes make CNTs the most suitable candidates for molecular electronic connections. Also, they themselves have been shown as switches.