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Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical molecules with a diameter of as little as 1 nanometer and a length up to many micrometers. They consist of only carbon atoms, and can essentially be thought of as a single layer of graphite that has been wrapped into a cylinder, (See figure 1 and the article by Thomas Ebbesen in PHYSICS TODAY, June 1996, page 26).
The long cylindrical fullerenes called carbon nanotubes are the smallest metallic wires yet made. A flurry of recent experiments is revealing the quantum properties of electron transport along these molecular wires.