"It really is remarkable material," NIST co-author John Lehman says. "It's a way to make super-nanotubes. It has the optical, thermal and electrical properties of nanotubes with the robustness of the high-temperature ceramic."
The composite was developed by Kansas State. NIST researchers suggested using toluene to uniformly coat individual nanotubes with a ceramic shell. They also performed damage studies showing how well the composite tolerates exposure to laser light.