Iodine doped carbon nanotube cables exceeding specific electrical conductivity of metals

Sci Rep. 2011;1:83. doi: 10.1038/srep00083. Epub 2011 Sep 6.


Creating highly electrically conducting cables from macroscopic aggregates of carbon nanotubes, to replace metallic wires, is still a dream. Here we report the fabrication of iodine-doped, double-walled nanotube cables having electrical resistivity reaching ∼10⁻⁷ Ω.m. Due to the low density, their specific conductivity (conductivity/weight) is higher than copper and aluminum and is only just below that of the highest specific conductivity metal, sodium. The cables exhibit high current-carrying capacity of 10⁴∼10⁵ A/cm² and can be joined together into arbitrary length and diameter, without degradation of their electrical properties. The application of such nanotube cables is demonstrated by partly replacing metal wires in a household light bulb circuit. The conductivity variation as a function of temperature for the cables is five times smaller than that for copper. The high conductivity nanotube cables could find a range of applications, from low dimensional interconnects to transmission lines.