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Carbon nanotube networks for electronics applications (CANNELA)
Start date: 16 Mar 2009, End date: 15 Mar 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are well known for their unique electronic, thermal and mechanical properties. Ensembles of CNTs form networks that can be transparent and at the same time conductive, showing great potential for replacing the currently used indium tin oxide (ITO), whose future availability is at risk due to the impoverishment of the world's sources of indium. CNT networks offer not only an alternative to ITO but also advantages like flexibility, useful with plastic substrates, or avoiding the contamination from ITO of other device materials.The studies of transparent conductive CNT networks are still at an early stage and despite their good performance the measured properties are below expectation due to the presence of different tube types (metallic and semiconducting) in the same sample, impurities, defectious tubes and interconnection problems. One aim of this project is to explore recently developed possibilities of sorting CNTs according to type for realizing improved and tunable networks. Due to the high anisotropy of CNTs, their macroscopic organization has an impact on the properties of the network: disorganization brings an averaging-down of the properties of individual tubes that thus could be brought to macroscopic scale only by ordering. The applicant has previously shown that liquid crystalline materials can be used to unidirectionally align CNTs. We propose in this project to use this approach also to form aligned networks, studying the relation between electrical conductivity and degree of order and evaluating the corresponding percolation thresholds. The networks will be implemented in device configurations such as LCDs, OLEDs, and solar cells. Also graphene has recently shown to have excellent properties as transparent electrode, but further studies are required of this new material. In combination with CNTs, one could envisage multifunctional electrodes with ordering and optically polarizing properties."
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