The geometric structure of single-walled nanotubes
In this paper, we survey a number of existing geometric structures which have been proposed by the authors as possible models for various nanotubes. Atoms assemble into molecules following the laws of quantum mechanics, and in general computational approaches to predicting the molecular structure can be arduous and involve considerable computing time. Fortunately, nature favours minimum energy structures which tend to be either very symmetric or very unsymmetric, and which therefore can be analyzed from a geometrical perspective. The conventional rolled-up model of nanotubes completely ignores any effects due to curvature and the present authors have proposed a number of exact geometric models. Here we review a number of these recent developments relating to the geometry of nanotubes, including both the traditional rolled-up models and some exact polyhedral constructions. We review a number of formulae for four materials, carbon, silicon, boron and boron nitride, and we also include results for the case when the bond lengths may take on distinct values.