Carbon nanotubes enable flexible, printed electronics

Applied Nanotech Inc. (ANI), a subsidiary of Nano-Proprietary Inc. in Austin, Texas, and The Chair of Display Technology at Universitaet Stuttgart in Germany are advancing carbon nanotubes for flexible electronics.

Aug 1st, 2008
Th 291950

By Courtney E. Howard

AUSTIN, Texas—Applied Nanotech Inc. (ANI), a subsidiary of Nano-Proprietary Inc. in Austin, Texas, and The Chair of Display Technology at Universitaet Stuttgart in Germany are advancing carbon nanotubes for flexible electronics.

The team is developing high-performance, carbon nanotube thin film transistors (TFTs) to produce flexible electronics for displays, electronic circuits, sensors, memory chips, and other applications that are transitioning from rigid substrates, such as silicon and glass, to flexible substrates.

Engineers at ANI and the Universitaet Stuttgart have increased the fabrication yield of carbon nanotube TFTs with ANI’s proprietary printing-like method of carbon nanotube deposition. “The TFTs exceed an on/off ratio of five orders of magnitude and achieve the electron mobility necessary for their utilization for low-temperature, plastic-based substrates,” says a representative.


Nano-Proprietary Inc. and The Chair of Display Technology of Universitaet Stuttgart have teamed to advance flexible electronics applications using carbon nanotubes.
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The Chair of Display Technology at Universitaet Stuttgart in May 2008 unveiled the world’s first full-color, active-matrix liquid crystal display (LCD) in which random carbon nanotube (CNT) networks replaced indium tin oxide (ITO) as transparent conductive film (TCF). ITO is commonly used in transparent conductive coatings for LCDs, flat-panel displays, plasma displays, and touch panels. The display delivers qVGA (320 x 240) resolution.

The CNT networks are deposited by spray coating, which replaces an expensive vacuum process. “This demonstrates for the first time the applicability of CNTs as TCF in a state-of-the-art amorphous silicon active-matrix process,” says a representative. “It also gives a great perspective for future flexible displays, since CNT networks are much more reliable in flexible applications than the amorphous ITO.”

The entire display, from the AM-backplane to the color filters and dedicated addressing system, was designed and developed at the Universitaet of Stuttgart.

For more information, visit Nano-Proprietary Inc. and The Chair of Display Technology of Universitaet Stuttgart, Germany, at www.nano-proprietary.com and www.lfb.uni-stuttgart.de, respectively.

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