The Tiny Solutions to Our Big Energy Problem program gives a brief overview of energy sources and our current energy crisis and discusses a variety of ways that nanotechnology can improve the way we harness energy (improving solar cells), distribute energy (carbon nanotube transmission lines) and use energy (nanotech-enhanced LED bulbs). It is primarily a slideshow presentation, designed for medium-to-large audiences. It consists mostly of a lecture, with a few live demonstrations and a few audience interactions.
“Nanotube Balloons” is a large display made of balloons that can be used to draw visitors to a program on nanotechnology. Visitors observe how the carbon atoms are arranged in a carbon nanotube. The nanotube balloon model can be pre-constructed by museum staff, or visitors can help to build it. The balloon structure provides an intriguing hook for other programs, like “Forms of Carbon” or the “World of Carbon Nanotubes”.
A bundle of singlewalled nanotubes processed into a thin sheet is shown in this scanning electron microscope image.
Singlewalled nanotubes are extremely important in the continuing miniaturization of electronic devices. These tubes have an average diameter of 1-2 nm. Their electrical properties have led to their investigation as super capacitors for storing electrical charges.
• SIZE: The thickness of the sheet is about 50 µm.
• IMAGING TOOL: Scanning electron microscope
The nanoscale structures on a gecko's foot enable it to cling to most surfaces. This scanning electron microscope image shows multiwalled carbon nanotubes attached to a polymer backing, an experiment designed to replicate the gecko foot's adhesive properties.