Researchers at Rice University (RU), USA, have potentially hit upon a method to produce almost transparent films of electrically conductive carbon nanotubes (CNT) – a milestone R&D step sought by many nano-technologists around the world.  Dr Matteo Pasquali research team found that base substrates dipped in a solution of pure nanotubes in chlorosulfonic acid (CSA) resulted in an even coating of CNT, which after further processing had none of the disadvantages experienced by other (coating) methods.

It is claimed the films may be suitable for flexible electronic displays and touch-screens – viable substitute for indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent displays – as according the journal published in October 2012 American Chemical Society (ACS) journal ACS Nano – “High-Performance Carbon Nanotubes Transparent Conductive Films by Scalable Dip Coating”.  Pasquali and a graduate student continue to speculate the following:-

  • I think this could be the way that high-performance transparent electrodes are made in the future
  • The solution is straight-forward – it’s a very simple process
  • The method is scalable to high-throughput processes like slot, slide and roll-coating used by industry

A key hindrance in the scalability of any nanomaterial is even homogeneity when dispersed on any given base substrate – such potential scalability becomes more frustrating when nanoparticles/tubes/whiskers tend to attract each other in common solvents/impurities.  Therefore, being able to finitely control the evaporation of solvent impurities is key when seeking to evenly disperse any given nanomaterial on any given base substrate.  DCN Corp believes it has also devised a nano dip coating methodology with an associated coating encapsulation chamber, which can closely compete with the findings published by Pasquali’s Rice laboratory.  Original article available here