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Nano Growth
- a breakthrough low-temperature carbon nanotube growth tool -

 

CEVP has developed a fabrication tool to commercialise the revolutionary low temperature carbon nanotube growth process developed by the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). The new tool - NanoGrowth - is currently being trialled and characterised by ATI, and the two partners anticipate releasing the technology for commercial use in March 2006.

The exploitation of the incredible mechanical and electrical properties of carbon nanotubes in precision applications such as integrated circuits and flat panel displays has been hindered by current growth techniques, which can elevate substrate temperatures to 1000 degrees C or more, resulting in damage or quality issues. In contrast, the new NanoGrowth tool, which is designed to deliver nanomaterial growth across areas up to three inches in diameter, employs a unique thermal control system to maintain the growth substrate at room temperature.

"The goal of this tool is to make precision carbon nanotube fabrication possible at low temperatures, together with a scale of growth area that is suitable for many high technology applications," says Ben Jensen of CEVP. "We believe it will be the first platform for making carbon nanotubes and nanowires a practical proposition in commercial high technology applications."

The equipment is a joint venture between CEVP - a leader in the provision of plasma process tools to research institutions and semiconductor manufacturers - and ATI. The partners have collaborated to develop a plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) and vacuum process that is optimised for the growth of carbon nanotubes with highly controlled properties such as density, length and position. Special control sequences are also provided to make carbon nanotubes 'flower', for large surface area applications.

The integrated thermal control system maintains the work area substrate at room temperatures during processing, allowing carbon nanotube materials to be grown vertically and horizontally with precision - even on highly heat sensitive materials such as plastic or metallised paper. The tool may also be used to grow related nanomaterials including doped silicon nanowires and tungsten oxide nanowires on suitable substrates.

"The high degree of thermal control offered by this tool means that the particles used to catalyse material growth remain at their original size, facilitating both precise and repeatable processing," says Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI).

ATI has been active in the nanotechnology field for some eight years, working for sponsors in areas including defence. It first described its ground-breaking room temperature growth process in Nature Materials in 2002, and this has subsequently been patented. ATI's work since then has improved the process, and made it capable of growing material across much larger substrate areas. During the development of this tool, the collaboration with CEVP has also resulted in numerous refinements that have helped to convert the laboratory technique into a practical manufacturing process, and CEVP is in the process of patenting these techniques.

The precision control and scale of growth offered by the new tool is expected to be of considerable use in both academic and commercial laboratories, for the development of practical nanomaterial production techniques for high technology applications. Likely applications include low-resistance nanowires in integrated circuits, semiconducting nanotubes for fabricating high performance transistors, micro-miniature heatsinks, ultra-tough polymer composites, gas sensors, and light sources for flat panel displays - which because of the lower processing temperatures could now be fabricated on low-cost soda lime glass.

Contact CEVP: t: +44 1273 515899 or sales@cevp.co.uk

Contact ATI


www.nano-tsunami.com
This story has been adapted from a news release -
Diese Meldung basiert auf einer Pressemitteilung -
Deze tekst is gebaseerd op een nieuwsbericht -

 



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