The rise of boron nitride nanotubes for applications in energy harvesting, nanoelectronics, quantum materials, and biomedicine

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Department of Physics


Abstract: The electrically insulating nature of boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) hindered their applications in energy production and electronic devices for more than a quarter-century. During the past ten years, researchers have creatively demonstrated applications based on the unique properties of BNNTs not found in carbon nanotubes (CNTs). For example, bending BNNTs to generate current flow, electric current generation induced by salinity gradients across the tubular channel of BNNTs, single-electron transistors (SETs) based on electron tunneling between gold nanoparticles on BNNTs, electronic switching across graphene-BNNT heterojunctions, and field-effect transistors based on Tellurium (Te) atomic chains filled inside BNNTs, etc. In addition, the optically transparent nature of BNNTs has enabled the formation and detection of monatomic gold quantum materials. The electrically insulating BNNTs have also minimized fluorescent quenching and allowed the construction of high-brightness fluorophores (HBFs) for biomedical phenotyping. We have reviewed some of these emerging applications and provided our perspective for future work. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to The Materials Research Society 2022. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1557/s43578-022-00737-5

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Journal of Materials Research