National Physical Laboratory

NPL presents at IMAPS R2i event at Sheffield University on 3 September 2015

NPL will present two posters at the UK IMAPS 'Connecting Research to Industry' (IMAPS T2i) event at Sheffield University on Thursday 3 September 2015. NPL will present its latest research on smart textiles and CNT interconnects.

Carbon nanotubes (CNT) interconnects

New carbon nanotubes (CNT) interconnects

Carbon nanotubes (CNT) are known to be materials which outperform traditional interconnect materials, such as copper, with respect to their electrical and thermal conductivity properties. With the increase in current densities through electronic circuitry brought about by miniaturisation, replacements for traditional materials have to be found. Using carbon nanotube and sintered silver as an electronic interconnect offers a unique high temperature, high conductivity and flexible interconnect solution. A method of transposing arrays of multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) from their growth substrates to a target metal substrate is proposed. MWCNT arrays, typically 200 μm in length, were produced by a chemical vapour deposition (CVD) process and were shown by Raman spectroscopy to have relatively few defects. Oxygen plasma treatment was used to functionalise the surfaces so that they bond to the nanoparticle silver. The silver-CNT-silver interconnects were found to be ohmic conductors with resistivity of 0.4 mΩm, whilst operating at temperatures of at least 300 ˚C for extended periods.

Conductive circuit

Smart conductive fabrics for use in the wearable electronics sector

Through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, the Functional Materials teams from Coventry University and NPL are looking at additive techniques for applying electrically conductive tracks to fabrics. There is a growing market for wearable 'smart' electronic devices and our technology could find application in these types of devices across a range of sectors, e.g. remote healthcare developments. Fabric fibres are first coated with silver nanoparticles, which makes them catalytic towards a secondary, additive, electroless copper plating treatment. The result is a conductive fabric that is still flexible and stretchable, with a useful change in conductivity measured as the fabric is stretched. Trials have been successful with both natural and synthetic fibres and, in the case of cotton, have shown little deterioration after 100 washes. Whole areas of material can be coated, or applied as tracks. Performance evaluation of these new types of material in order to ensure a robust, reliable technology and enable integration into devices is also a focus of this project.

Find out more about the UK IMAPS 'Connecting Research to Industry' (IMAPS T2i) event

Last Updated: 14 Sep 2016
Created: 1 Sep 2015

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