Open Access Nano Review

Tube Formation in Nanoscale Materials

Chenglin Yan, Jun Liu, Fei Liu, Junshu Wu, Kun Gao and Dongfeng Xue*

Author Affiliations

State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemicals, Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, 116012, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2008, 3:473-480  doi:10.1007/s11671-008-9193-6

Published: 4 November 2008


The formation of tubular nanostructures normally requires layered, anisotropic, or pseudo-layered crystal structures, while inorganic compounds typically do not possess such structures, inorganic nanotubes thus have been a hot topic in the past decade. In this article, we review recent research activities on nanotubes fabrication and focus on three novel synthetic strategies for generating nanotubes from inorganic materials that do not have a layered structure. Specifically, thermal oxidation method based on gas–solid reaction to porous CuO nanotubes has been successfully established, semiconductor ZnS and Nb2O5nanotubes have been prepared by employing sacrificial template strategy based on liquid–solid reaction, and an in situ template method has been developed for the preparation of ZnO taper tubes through a chemical etching reaction. We have described the nanotube formation processes and illustrated the detailed key factors during their growth. The proposed mechanisms are presented for nanotube fabrication and the important pioneering studies are discussed on the rational design and fabrication of functional materials with tubular structures. It is the intention of this contribution to provide a brief account of these research activities.

Nanotubes; Chemical synthesis; Nanostructures; Inorganic materials