According to researchers at Tsinghua University, nanotubes made from Boron could have many of the same properties as nanotubes made from carbon – and for some electronic applications, they should even be better than carbon:
Accoring to Xiaobao Yang, Yi Ding and Jun Ni from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, the best configuration for boron is to take the unstable hexagon lattice and add an extra atom to the centre of some of the hexagons. They calculate that this is the most stable known theoretical structure for a boron nanotube.
Their simulation also shows that, with this pattern, boron nanotubes should have variable electrical properties: wider ones would be metallic conductors, but narrower ones should be semiconductors. If so, then boron tubes might be used in nanodevices similar to the diodes and transistors that have already been made from carbon nanotubes.