The need for the fabrication of a new generation of devices has developed with the next generation of ‘home’ engineers, which is resulting in an ever-increasing population interested in “do-it-yourself” electronics and the Internet of Things. However, this new trend should not be done at the expense of the environment. Almost all previous studies, related to the low-temperature processing of devices, fail to highlight the extent of the impact that the synthesis of these technologies have on both the environment and human health. In addition, the substrates typically used, are also often associated with major drawbacks such as a lack of biodegradability. In this paper, we fabricate a simple RC filter using various domestically available printing techniques, utilising readily available materials such as: carbon soots (carbon black) as an electric conductor, and egg white (albumen) as a dielectric. These devices have been fabricated on both polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and paper, which demonstrated the same performances on both substrates and revealed that recyclable substrates can be used without compromise to the devices’ performance. The filter was found to exhibit a cut-off frequency of 170 kHz, which made it suitable for high-frequency reception applications.
CNTs can have the ability to act as compliant small-scale springs or as shock resistance micro-contactors. This work investigates the performance of vertically-aligned CNTs (VA-CNTs) as micro-contactors in electromechanical testing applications for testing at wafer-level chip-scale-packaging (WLCSP) and wafer-level-packaging (WLP). Fabricated on ohmic substrates, 500-μm-tall CNT-metal composite contact structures are electromechanically characterized. The probe design and architecture are scalable, allowing for the assembly of thousands of probes in short manufacturing times, with easy pitch control. We discuss the effects of the metallization morphology and thickness on the compliance and electromechanical response of the metal-CNT composite contacts. Pd-metallized CNT contactors show up to 25 μm of compliance, with contact resistance as low as 460 mΩ (3.6 kΩ/μm) and network resistivity of 1.8 × 10−5 Ω cm, after 2500 touchdowns, with 50 μm of over-travel; they form reproducible and repeatable contacts, with less than 5% contact resistance degradation. Failure mechanisms are studied in-situ and after cyclic testing and show that, for top-cap-and-side metallized contacts, the CNT-metal shell provides stiffness to the probe structure in the elastic region, whilst reducing the contact resistance. The stable low resistance achieved, the high repeatability and endurance of the manufactured probes make CNT micro-contacts a viable candidate for WLP and WLCSP testing.
Recent interest in the fields of human motion monitoring, electronic skin, and human–machine interface technology demands strain sensors with high stretchability/compressibility (ε > 50%), high sensitivity (or gauge factor (GF > 100)), and long-lasting electromechanical compliance. However, current metal- and semiconductor-based strain sensors have very low (ε < 5%) stretchability or low sensitivity (GF < 2), typically sacrificing the stretchability for high sensitivity. Composite elastomer sensors are a solution where the challenge is to improve the sensitivity to GF > 100. We propose a simple, low-cost fabrication of mechanically compliant, physically robust metallic carbon nanotube (CNT)-polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) strain sensors. The process allows the alignment of CNTs within the PDMS elastomer, permitting directional sensing. Aligning CNTs horizontally (HA-CNTs) on the substrate before embedding in the PDMS reduces the number of CNT junctions and introduces scale-like features on the CNT film perpendicular to the tensile strain direction, resulting in improved sensitivity compared to vertically-aligned CNT-(VA-CNT)-PDMS strain sensors under tension. The CNT alignment and the scale-like features modulate the electron conduction pathway, affecting the electrical sensitivity. Resulting GF values are 594 at 15% and 65 at 50% strains for HA-CNT-PDMS and 326 at 25% and 52 at 50% strains for VA-CNT-PDMS sensors. Under compression, VA-CNT-PDMS sensors show more sensitivity to small-scale deformation than HA-CNT-PDMS sensors due to the CNT orientation and the continuous morphology of the film, demonstrating that the sensing ability can be improved by aligning the CNTs in certain directions. Furthermore, mechanical robustness and electromechanical durability are tested for over 6000 cycles up to 50% tensile and compressive strains, with good frequency responses with negligible hysteresis. Finally, both types of sensors are shown to detect small-scale human motions, successfully distinguishing various human motions with reaction and recovery times of as low as 130 ms and 0.5 s, respectively.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can be used in many different applications. Field emission (FE) measurements were used together with Raman spectroscopy to show a correlation between the microstructure and field emission parameters. However, field emission characterization does not suffer from fluorescence noise present in Raman spectroscopy. In this study, Raman spectroscopy is used to characterize vertically aligned CNT forest samples based on their D/G band intensity ratio (ID/IG), and FE properties such as the threshold electric field, enhancement coefficient, and anode to CNT tip separation (ATS) at the outset of emission have been obtained. A relationship between ATS at first emission and the enhancement factor, and, subsequently, a relationship between ATS and the ID/IG are shown. Based on the findings, it is shown that a higher enhancement factor (3070) results when a lower ID/IG is present (0.45), with initial emissions at larger distances (47 lm). For the samples studied, the morphology of the CNT tips did not play an important role; therefore, the field enhancement factor (b) could be directly related to the carbon nanotube structural properties such as breaks in the lattice or amorphous carbon content. Thus, this work presents FE as a complementary tool to evaluate the quality of CNT samples, with the advantages of alarger probe size and an averaging over the whole nanotube length. Correspondingly, one can find the best field emitter CNT according to its ID/IG.