Reading American researchers have developed brushes that are thinner than a human hair. Built like a toothbrush, the mini brushes have millions of tiny carbon nanofiber bristles that are about three hundred thousandths of a millimeter in diameter. In contrast to miniature brushes used so far, the carbon fiber brushes are significantly more resistant and therefore widely applicable. The functionality of mechanical and electrical devices on the nanoscale, among other things, strongly depends on their cleanliness. However, with today's cleaning equipment, the tiny particles of dirt can often not be removed. The nano brushes from Puljer Ajayan and his colleagues could help: the scientists have developed different models of these tiny brushes, whose bristle heads are 1, 000 times smaller than the heads of currently used mini brushes. Their total size is about 20 times less, and their weight is less than 50 millionths of a gram.

Nevertheless, these mini brushes are extremely stable, the researchers emphasize. Unlike previously used bristle materials such as animal hair, synthetic polymers or metal wires, the carbon fibers are characterized by high strength, elasticity and thermal conductivity. The applications of these brushes are diverse, the scientists report: not only can they clear tiny cracks and fissures from the nanodust, they are also suitable for painting: Using a three-row brush, which was turned by a motor, the researchers were able to find the inside of mini capillaries paint evenly.

To produce the nanoborsten, the scientists use the so-called chemical vapor deposition method. The researchers can grow the Nanoborsten locally limited directly at the top of the brush handle: The starting material is stored? Layer by layer ? out of the vapor phase at the top of the growing bristles.

Pulickel Ajayan (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy) et al .: Nature Materials, Online Preliminary Publication, DOI: 10.1038 / nmat1415 Display

ddp / science.de? Stefanie Offermann

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