More than ten years ago, it was suggested theoretically that boron nitride (BN) nanotubes could be produced. Soon after, various reports on their synthesis appeared and a new area of nanotube science was born. This review aims to cover the latest advances related to the synthesis of BN nanotubes. We show that these tubes can now be produced in larger amounts and, in particular, that the chemistry of BN tubes appears to be very important to the production of reinforced composites with insulating characteristics. From the theoretical standpoint, we also show that (BN)-C heteronanotubes could have important implications for nanoelectronics. We believe that BN nanotubes (pure and doped) could be used in the fabrication of novel devices in which pure carbon nanotubes do not perform very efficiently.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(07)70077-9