A team led by Liming Dai (University of Dayton) and Zhong Wang (GeorgiaTech) have developed a carbon nanotube dry adhesive patterned on gecko feet. The branching structure combining vertical nanotubes topped with smaller nanotubes increases adhesive strength, provides directional adhesion (allowing adhesive to be peeled off easily) and adheres to a wide range of structures (from glass to sandpaper).
An outstanding problem is keeping the adhesive clean over multiple uses. Dai believes that the nanotubes can be covered with temperature-sensitive polymer that would release dirt when heated. Another advantage is the greater heat-resistance of carbon nanotubes, supporting adhesion and heat conduction in electronic circuits.