Linde Electronics is today launching a ground-breaking new product using technology invented at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN). SEERe- is a revolutionary ink that contains tiny tubes of carbon 10,000th the diameter of a human hair, and which can be used to make conductive films for flat screen TVs and lightweight strong, composite materials.
Unveiled at the NT13 conference in Helsinki, SEERe- Ink (salt enhanced electrostatic repulsion) overcomes perhaps the most significant challenge that has faced those hoping to exploit the extraordinary properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs): How to dissolve these nanomaterials to form solutions while maintaining their pristine structure and therefore unique properties. Such solutions can be used to paint a transparent conductive film or embed the SWNTs in other materials to form composites.
The SEERe- ink is based on methods developed by the LCN team of Dr Chris Howard and Prof Neal Skipper at University College London and Dr Siân Fogden and Prof Milo Shaffer at Imperial College London. The team discovered that charging SWNTs in ammonia-based solvents could overcome the forces binding the SWNTs together in bundles and lead to their dissolution. True ‘debundling’ without damaging or shortening the SWNTs can drastically improve the performance of the resulting films and composites. In fact, the SEERe- Ink has already been used to fabricate ‘best in class’ performing transparent conductive films.
Dr Howard, who led the initial work during an EPSRC funded early career fellowship said, “The technological potential of SWNTs in future technologies is hugely significant, but despite years of research this potential has not yet been realised. We are excited that this product might finally pave the way for the incorporation of SWNTs into flat screens and high tech products of the future.”
Linde Electronics are the global electronics business of The Linde Group, a world leading gases and engineering company. The Linde Group licensed the associated IP portfolio from UCL Business (UCLb) in 2011, and formed Linde Nanomaterials to develop and commercialise the technology, based at their facility in San Marcos, California.
Figure: SEERe- Ink: A solution of charged single-walled carbon nanotubes
Links for further information
More details of the SEERe- product on the Linde website
UCLb press release for license deal with Linde