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Published: 25 June 2015

ATI researchers move a step closer to next generation electronics

Researchers in the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) have developed a new technique for growing carbon nanotubes, which could enable more efficient electronic devices.

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can potentially perform 1,000 times better than copper in applications involving electrical conduction; however many applications require ‘in-situ’ growth of high quality CNTs at low temperatures (below 450oC) on metallic substrates. Since, using conventional growth techniques, CNT quality becomes strongly degraded when growth is conducted in this way, until now it has not been possible to exploit the exceptional qualities of CNTs in many electronic applications.

In a paper recently published in scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials, researchers in the ATI have demonstrated a new technique that enables the growth of high quality CNTs at lower temperatures (below 450oC) on metallic surfaces. This development makes the use of CNTs in electronics more viable by addressing some of the key process based challenges of CNT integration with current technology.

Principal author Dr Muhammad Ahmad said, “By using an array of optical lamps and optimising the thickness of the support layer, we’ve been able to confine the optical energy to the top catalyst layer, resulting in the production of high quality CNTs on metallic surfaces at lower temperatures.”

Lead author of the project and Director of the ATI, Professor Ravi Silva commented, “The research and technology developed is of significant importance as it brings carbon nanotube based electronics in line with the necessary prerequisites for standard integrated circuits, and moves us a step closer to carbon nanotube based electronics. We are happy to be working with industry to examine the various opportunities this allows.”

The paper, High quality carbon nanotubes on conductive substrates grown at low temperatures was published on 8 June in Advanced Functional Materials, a Wiley publication.

 

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