Future Earth


Nanotubes assemble! Teslaphoresis


Super-materials with super properties and potential!

Researchers at Rice University have developed a way to make carbon nanotubes self-assemble in a dish using a powerful Tesla coil transformer circuit.

The discovery during their experiments has been dubbed ”Teslaphoresis” is simply a powerful force field that makes particles quickly come together.


Similar to graphene, carbon nanotubes are considered “supermaterials” with many potential applications but they have yet to be implemented on a wide scale. This new development will allow scientists to build circuits without actually touching them, marking a major step forward for potential uses of the material.

Paul Cherukuri, adjunct assistant professor of chemistry at Rice University, explained that the Tesla coil system creates a high-voltage field that causes the nanotubes to align from a distance, a process they call teslaphoresis. When scientists turn the powerful machine on, the disparate particles quickly coalesce into a line.

“It’s very much like a web stringing out together,” he said. “The physics of that is much richer than we originally thought. There is new science coming out of this as we go.”

The team is researching how to make the self-assembly work further out from the coil. In the future, the technology could be used not just to make conductive wires, but also to create silicon chips and explore different applications in biomedical engineering.

Teslaphoresis experiments

Full research from the Rice University team can be found here http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.6b02313