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Researchers from MIT have demonstrated a technique that allows them to draw a line of carbon nanotubes – with a mechanical pencil. Their aim is to develop a production technique for nanotube-based sensors for detecting hazardous chemicals in the environment. Nanotubes are good at this, but expensive and difficult to produce. …

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> Nanotubes are good at this, but expensive and difficult to produce.

This precis obscures the point of the MIT work: nanotubes are actually quite cheap to produce, what has been expensive and somewhat hazardous has been forming effective sensors with them as commonly it's done with nasty solvents. So that's why the pencil is clever; same material but applied more effectively.

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They'll be telling us next that they can also draw perfect graphene crystals from an ordinary pencil ;-)

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