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Carbon nanotubes poised for prime time

TOKYO -- Carbon nanotubes have long been regarded as a futuristic dream material, but the dream is giving way to an exciting reality that is bringing big changes to everything from semiconductors to car parts.

     It is easy to understand the appeal of the material, which was discovered a little over 20 years ago by Sumio Iijima, a researcher at Japanese electronics company NEC. It is only half the weight of aluminum but 20 times stronger than steel. And its excellent electrical and thermal conductivity make the material ideal for semiconductors.

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