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Posted on November 20, 2013

Invisible printed electronics using carbon nanotubes

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Researchers at the UCLA incubator startup, Aneeve Nanotechnologies, have demonstrated the first fully printed and invisible electronics using carbon nanotubes. Such a demonstration aims to propel the momentum in innovating invisible (transparent) displays used for google goggles, invisible window displays, transparent smarphones and wearable electronics.
 
Research built the electronics made of thin film transistors (TFT) to be totally invisible to the naked eye by incorporating devices made solely using carbon nanotubes (CNT) materials that are inherently transparent. In addition to being printable, CNT materials are able to operate at faster processing data speeds and CNT technology has the potential to lessen energy consumption (and waste). Furthermore these materials have outstanding mechanical, electrical and thermal properties that make them an alluring material to electronic manufacturers.
 
"This is the first practical demonstration of carbon nanotube-based printed circuits for transparent applications," said Kos Galatsis, an associate adjunct professor of materials science at UCLA Engineering and a co-founder of Aneeve. "We have demonstrated carbon nanotubes' viable candidacy as a competing technology alongside amorphous silicon and metal-oxide semiconductor solution as a low-cost and scalable option, but with more bells and whistles, such as room temperature fabrication and transparency."
 
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This distinct process utilizes an ink-jet printing method that eliminates the need for expensive vacuum equipment and lends itself to scalable manufacturing and roll-to-roll printing. The team solved many material integration problems that enabled transistors to be fully printed using nano-based ink solutions.
 
The new work is described in a paper published in the Applied Physics Letters journal, co-authored by Aneeve scientists, Farzam Sajed and Christopher Rutherglen.
 
Source and top image: Aneeve Nanotechnologies LLC
 
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