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Scientists at Rice University discovered the force field surrounding a Tesla coil is strong enough to cause carbon nanotubes to self-assemble, a phenomenon that could be useful in regenerative medicine.

 

What if carbon nanotubes could self-assemble, and harness enough energy to illuminate LEDs without touch? Thanks to a new research study conducted by scientists at Rice University, now it is.

 

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The process is called “Teslaphoresis” and is the manner by which carbon nanotubes self-assemble into long wires, organized by charge, due to the force field emitted by a Tesla coil. The phenomenon has only previously been observed at the nano level, in ultrashort distances. This new discovery holds promise for expanding the process to allow for new methodologies in science and energy research.

 

In the experiment, researchers observed the effects of a Tesla coil on carbon nanotubes. The scientists observed that the nanotubes not only self-assembled according to positive or negative charge, but also moved toward the coil over considerable distances. Rice chemist Paul Cherukuri led the research team and the project was entirely self-funded.

 

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"Electric fields have been used to move small objects, but only over ultrashort distances," Cherukuri said. "With Teslaphoresis, we have the ability to massively scale up force fields to move matter remotely."

 

The research team plans to continue its work, and believes the phenomenon may have a future impact on the development of regenerative medical practices. The team plans to observe how nanotubes are affected by the presence of several Tesla coils at once.

 

The study findings were published in ACS Nano.

 

 

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