NASA Scientist Discusses Nanotube Advances Feb. 9 at Jefferson Lab

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Mike Smith, a NASA Langley Research Center scientist, will present a lecture titled "20th Anniversary of the Nanotube" on Wednesday, Feb. 9, beginning at 4 p.m. in Jefferson Lab's CEBAF Center auditorium.

In an abstract for the talk, Smith notes: Since the publication of physicist Sumio Iijima's seminal paper describing the carbon nanotube in 1991, thousands of researchers have explored the properties and potential applications of this alluring molecule. Few realize, however, that carbon's immediate neighbors on the periodic table, boron and nitrogen, can also form perfect nanotubes. First proposed then synthesized by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley in the mid 1990s, the boron-nitride nanotube has proven very difficult to make, until now.

Smith will describe the discovery of a new method for making boron-nitride nanotubes that was developed with Jefferson Lab researchers at the lab's Free-Electron Laser facility. Science magazine reported the discovery on Dec. 10, 2009, in a story by Karen Fox, titled, "Better Nanotubes May Be on the Way." For applications from space elevators to nuclear physics, Smith will explore the possibility that better nanotubes have finally arrived.

The talk is open to the public at no charge. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Jefferson Lab is located at 12000 Jefferson Ave., Newport News; visitors are asked to enter via Onnes Drive and follow the Special Event signs to parking. For security purposes, everyone 16 and older is asked to carry a valid photo I.D., and security guards may perform parcel and vehicle inspections.

Jefferson Lab is one of 17 Department of Energy national research laboratories and facilities. It is managed and operated by Jefferson Science Associates, LLC for the DOE Office of Science.

Editor's note: The Science magazine story is posted at:


Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Public Affairs, 757-269-7263,


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. and PAE Applied Technologies, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit