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Making Nanotubes with Underwater Sparks

Given by: Dr. James Espinosa, Professor
Department of Physics, Rhodes College

Wednesday, April 16
Manning Hall room 201

Refeshments will be served at 3:30pm in Manning Hall 222


For the past hundred years, underwater sparks have been studied with numerous applications in mind, most recently as an active sonar source. They share many features of lightning in air, including breakdown strength and physical appearance, causing most of the community to believe that electron avalanches are a critical part of the process of dielectric breakdown in water.

A brief overview will be given of a model that explains most empirical data up to this point and indicate new avenues of research. One of these new applications suggested by this new theory is the utilization of underwater sparks to create nanostructures. Carbon and silicon nanotubes have been created with underwater sparks. Preliminary results of this ongoing research will be presented, including the direction of further studies.

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