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PI: Riede, Moritz

Department: Condensed Matter Physics

This project will reduce environmental impact and cost for conductive CNT-polymer films, which will make them more widely adopted and reduce environmental impact within touch screen, solar cell and coating applications. Carbon nanotubes are a highly promising material, but the absence of cheap and scalable processing methods has prevented CNTs from being widely used on an industrial scale. To date, processing of CNTs requires mixtures with costly semiconducting polymers.

We have discovered that these semiconducting polymers can be replaced by an inexpensive insulating polymer, Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA), a widely used and proven material with excellent mechanical/environmental properties. We applied for a patent for this process and the US patent office has confirmed in 05/2022 that the patent will be granted.  Our subsequent development has produced CNT-EVA films which are highly conductive, transparent and at the same time flexible and lightweight, providing huge advantages over competitor materials. We have proven on a laboratory scale that we can easily deposit flexible semi-transparent conducting layers directly onto arbitrary surfaces. The preparation protocol we use involves exclusively scalable techniques and produces films that can be used as low-cost alternatives for touch screens, in solar cells and as de-icing or antistatic coatings.

We now want to scale-up our process to volumes for several m2 of film, perform application specific IEC tests and produce prototypes like touch screens of various shapes and forms required for the ubiquitous electronics of the future.

Our industry collaborator, the German technology group Heraeus, is among the leading experts in polymer sensors and coatings. They are providing extremely valuable feedback on the development of our films and help us identify high-impact applications for our technology.

Options following conclusion of the project include licensing our patent to industry and starting a spin out.

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