"A nanospace race has raged to successfully grow a nanotube array suitable for many uses. And today a UC research team, in conjunction with First Nano, is ahead — by a thousandth of a hair.
Nanotechnology revolves around the creation of technology — films, materials, devices, applications and systems — on a scale of 1–100 nanometers. But what is a nanometer? A nanometer is one billionth of a meter or 40 billionths of an inch. A human hair is between 50 and 100 microns wide — and a micron is 1,000 nanometers. A DNA molecule is about 2½ nanometers wide. A typical human hair is between 50,000 and 100,000 nanometers wide. So, we could stack at least 1000 nano-devices across the end of a human hair.
It might sound like an oxymoron, but long nanotubes are critical to manufacturers and practitioners in such fields as transportation, defense, safety and medicine. Because of their increased surface area, large nanotube arrays offer improvements in sensors. Larger nanotubes can be “spun” — or suspended in an epoxy-like substrate — and used to strengthen materials used in airplanes, for example. Like your great-grandmother’s yarn, the longer a continuous thread, the better. In conjunction with First Nano (FN), a division of CVD Equipment Corporation, UC has grown an array on FN’s EasyTube Carbon Nanotube system that is longer than 7 mm."