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PIB Summary for UPSC

14-February -2024

1. A new method for sodium catalyzed synthesis of carbon nanotubes could be useful for rechargeable batteries & flexible electronics.

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology  – Developing new technology – Nanotechnology
Advancement in CNT synthesis method crucial for UPSC as it aligns with sustainable technology, impacting energy, biomedical, and optoelectronic sectors.
Context
  • Indian researchers develop a groundbreaking method, using plasma, to synthesize clean Carbon Nanotubes on glass substrates at lower temperatures.
 Additional information on this news:  Introduction:
  • Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are indispensable in modern technology, with applications ranging from rechargeable batteries to medicine.
  • Conventional synthesis methods involve high temperatures and metal catalysts, posing challenges for biocompatibility and cost.
Research Innovation:
  • Researchers at the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) in India have developed a groundbreaking method for direct CNT synthesis on glass substrates.
  • The synthesis is performed at a relatively low temperature of 750 °C, using the Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition Technique (PECVD).
  • The innovative process eliminates the need for high temperatures and metal catalysts, addressing biocompatibility concerns and reducing overall production costs.
Experimental Setup:
  • Plasma is generated using a specially designed spiral-shaped fused hollow cathode source in the PECVD technique.
  • The process is conducted under atmospheric pressure, enhancing cost-effectiveness compared to existing methods in the field.
Influence of Factors on CNT Growth:
  • Various factors, including plasma characteristics, substrate composition, substrate temperature, and plasma pre-treatment, significantly influence CNT growth.
  • Pre-plasma treatment of the glass substrate at an elevated temperature enhances surface area, exposing more constituent elements to promote CNT growth.
  • Sodium (Na) emerges as the primary catalyst for initiating CNT growth, and its presence in the as-grown CNTs can be easily removed by washing with deionized water.
Implications and Applications:
  • The study unveils a novel atmospheric pressure PECVD process for synthesizing CNTs, addressing challenges in conventional methods.
  • Clean CNTs produced through this method are suitable for applications in energy research, biomedical fields, and optoelectronics.
  • This research marks a significant stride toward advancing CNT synthesis and expanding their applications across diverse technological fields.
What Are Carbon Nanotubes?
Carbon nanotubes are microscopic tubes made entirely of carbon atoms, boasting incredible strength, conductivity, and flexibility. They have cylindrical structures made of carbon atoms, with exceptional strength and unique electrical properties   Applications:
  • Reinforcing materials: Making lighter, stronger composites for everything from buildings to spacecraft.
  • Electronics: Revolutionizing transistors and circuits for faster, more efficient electronics.
  • Energy storage: Creating lighter, more powerful batteries for phones and electric vehicles.
  • Sensors: Detecting tiny changes in pressure, temperature, and molecules for precise measurements.
  • Biomedicine: Delivering drugs directly to cells, building tiny scaffolds for tissue growth, and more.
PYQ: What do you understand by nanotechnology and how is it helping in health sector? (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2020) (150 words/10 m)
Practice Question:  How does the novel Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) method for Carbon Nanotube synthesis address sustainability concerns and impact diverse technological applications? (150 words/10 m)
 

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