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Shining light on the elusive carbon nanotube

Michael Blades ’12, a senior electrical engineering and physics double-major, says that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have many unique optical, electrical and mechanical properties. CNTs are useful in biological, environmental and other applications, but their size makes them difficult to detect, examine and manipulate. He worked on this problem last year in a research internship with Lehigh’s Environmental Initiative, and is continuing his study of CNTs this fall with Slava Rotkin, associate professor of physics. “Carbon nanotubes need to be precisely positioned to function properly,” says Blades. “The problem is, not only are nanotubes very small, they are also very uncooperative.”