Hi, we are from Amerman Elementary School and our team name is the Eagles.  Our team consists of the following members.  Simone, Rachel, Andrea, Max, Mark, and Adam.  This year, we are competing in Lego Robotics.  For our presentation, we needed a project that has something to do with nanotechnology.  The following are some of our ideas.....

There are many new things happening everyday.  Some of them are new inventions.  We have found that today nanotechnology is one of them.  So, we looked for a project and found the cool project of printing carbon nanotubes out of a regular printer.  We found an article in the journal called small and it told of a scientist (named Dr.Vajtai) who conducted this test.

Our project is to find a better method of printing electrically conductive patterns of carbon nanotubes.  The  challenges that Dr. Vajtai encountered in this test were that Inkjet printing resulted randomly oriented carbon nantubes, having to print the paper through the printer 30 times because of the randomly oriented nanotubes.  The problems were printing through the printer 30 times, they used an inkjet printer, and the carbon nanotubes wouldn’t bond.  

Our solutions for his problems are using a laser printer (instead of an inkjet printer), using carbon nanotubes with a cobalt ion attached, and finally, adding sugar to form carbon bridges between the carbon nanotubes.  These solutions would result in better print quality, no need to chemically modify the carbon nanotubes to make them dispersible in water, allows carbon nanotube to align in a magnetic field used in laser printer, and lasty, you wouldn’t have to use multiple prints!  We emailed Dr. Vajtai with our solutions and he emailed us back saying that we have wonderful ideas.  Some of them are being tested right this second.  

Ways we shared our knowledge is through this website, our school and an article in the Detroit Free Press!  I hope that you enjoy all our information on this website!


Our Project:

-          Find a better way to print electrically conductive patterns of carbon nanotubes with an ordinary printer


Starting Point:

-          Article printed in the August 2006 issue of small by Dr. Vajtai and others, small, 2006, 2, 1021

            article link           


Challenges identified by Dr. Vajtai:

-          Inkjet printing resulted in randomly oriented carbon nanotubes

-          As a result, had to print at least 30 times to get electrically conductive patterns

-          Because of this, the resolution was substantially less than the 360 dpi for a single print


Our Solution:

-          Using a laser printer, instead of an inkjet printer

Result – Better than an inkjet printer.  Because laser printers use a dry toner, there is no need to chemically modify the carbon nanotubes to make them dispersible in water.

Research – Data

Solves – Poor resolution

-          Using carbon nanotubes with a cobalt ion attached

Result – Allows them to be aligned in a magnetic field used in the laser printer  

Research – G. Kamalakar, Dennis W. Hwang and Lian-Pin Hwang, J. Mater. Chem., 2002, 12, 1819

article link 

Solves – Random orientation.  Therefore may solve multiple printing

-    Adding sugar to form carbon bridges between the carbon nanotubes

Result – Creates better electrical conductivity between nanotubes.  A simple toner might be made of powdered sugar and carbon nanotubes with a cobalt ion attached.  

Research – Yingwei Li and Ralph T. Yang, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, 8136        

Solves – Multiple printing