Emerging Applications of Boron Nitride Nanotubes in Energy Harvesting, Electronics, and Biomedicine

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Department of Physics


Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are structurally and mechanically similar to carbon nanotubes (CNTs). In contrast, BNNTs exhibit unique properties for being electrically insulating and optically transparent due to the polarized boron nitride bonds. All these properties have prevented the use of BNNTs for energy harvesting and electronic devices for more than 25 years. During the past few years, researchers have started to demonstrate a series of novel applications of BNNTs based on unique properties not found on CNTs. For example, these novel applications include osmotic power harvesting using the charged inner surfaces of BNNTs, room-temperature single-electron transistors using insulating BNNTs as the tunneling channels, high-brightness fluorophores that can be 1000-times brighter than regular dyes, and transistors based on Tellurium atomic chains filled inside BNNTs. We have reviewed some of these emerging applications and provided our perspective for future work.

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ACS omega