World’s first elastic conductors using carbon nanotubes

New elastic conductor mechanically processed into a net-shaped structure.
A research team led by Takao Someya from the University of Tokyo has successfully developed the world’s first elastic conductors using single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) as a conducting dopant. The material shows the highest conductivity (57 S/cm) so far obtained for chemically stable elastic materials – two orders of magnitude greater than the conductivity previously reported for SWNT composite polymers. The researchers could dope the material, without sacrificing its mechanical flexibility and softness. with up to 20 wt% of SWCNT, which resulted in the hight conductivity. To do this, fine bundles of millimeter-long SWNTs were produced by grinding the SWNTs with ionic liquids, followed by uniform dispersion in compatible fluorinated copolymer matrices. The material has been shown to be stretchable to approximately 134% of its original size without significant mechanical damage.

The team has also successfully fabricated rubber-like stretchable integrated circuits (ICs) in which the newly-developed conductors are integrated with organic transistors, fabricated by printing processes, and are then used as wirings in large-area stretchable ICs. These ICs can be stretched by up to 70% without any degradation in their mechanical or electronic properties.

The achievement is an important step toward the production of intelligent surfaces that can be used as friendly human-electronics interfaces. In the future, such intelligent surfaces will be able to interact with people, objects, and the environment in a totally new fashion.

Details are published in the Science Express section of the Science magazine web site on August 7, 2008.

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~ by vascoteixeira on August 25, 2008.

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