Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have made an important theoretical breakthrough in the understanding of energy dissipation and thermal breakdown in metallic carbon nanotubes. Their discovery will help move nanotube wires from laboratory to marketplace. Shorter nanotubes can carry more current before burning apart because they dissipate heat better than longer nanotubes. The electrical contacts at each end act as heat sinks, which in short nanotubes are relatively close to one another, leading to efficient heat removal.
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