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Nanotube

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Carbon nanotubes are becoming universal tools and building blocks in nanomedicine, being proposed as nanodevices for drug delivery, DNA transfection, and biosensing. They can also be employed as nanopores that conduct protons, ions, and small molecules (see June 2003 highlight), or as reaction vessels for new types of chemical reactions. Studying carbon nanotubes can assist in designing improved nanodevices. One approach to studying nanotubes is furnished by molecular dynamics simulations. However, such simulations must account for one key property of nanotubes, their large polarizability due to the mobility of $\pi$-electrons over the tube walls. Until recently this polarizability could only be calculated through expensive quantum chemical calculations that could not be linked to simulations imaging molecular processes around carbon nanotubes. Recent studies ( 1 , 2 ) report now an empirical model that can be efficiently implemented into molecular dynamics simulations to take into account the polarization effect. The model reproduces results of more expensive quantum chemistry calculations very well. A first application of the new model studied the transport of water molecules through nanotubes. Water has a strong dipole moment that polarizes the nanotube wall and, therefore, provides a stringent test for the new methodology. For more informations, check out our nanotube website.