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Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are the divas of the nanoworld. In possession of alluring properties, they are also notoriously temperamental compared to their carbon-based cousins.

On the plus side, they can withstand incredibly high heat, well over 1,100 degrees Celsius, says Yoke Khin Yap, an associate professor of physics at Michigan Technological University. “Carbon nanotubes would burn like charcoal in a barbecue at half of those temperatures,” he says. And the electrical properties ofBNNTs are remarkably uniform. Perfect insulators, boron nitride nanotubes could be doped with other materials to form designer semiconductors that could be used in high-powered electronics.

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