The Process of Self-Assembly
There are various methods for the synthesis of nanotubes in large quantities, including arc discharge, laser ablation, chemical vapor deposition, and others. However, there is also a smaller scale process that can take place without any external stimulation. It is known as molecular self-assembly, where molecules can be arranged in well-defined patterns without human intervention. The same process can be applied to nanotubes as well.
Researchers have achieved the right experimental conditions and mix of catalysts to reproduce the self-assembling of nanotubes, in the same way that the deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA does. Carbon molecules are then linking in groups of six to form rosette-shaped rings and the rings, in their turn, assemble to create rod-like nanotubes. The result is the formation of self-replicating nanotubes that can be regarded as a superior material for multiple applications.
Such experiments have already taken place in recent years, regarding the creation of artificial joints, body implants and electronic device applications. The results, although at an experimental level, were very promising.