Navigation Links
Copper shines as flexible conductor

Bend them, stretch them, twist them, fold them: modern materials that are light, flexible and highly conductive have extraordinary technological potential, whether as artificial skin or electronic paper.

Making such concepts affordable enough for general use remains a challenge but a new way of working with copper nanowires and a PVA "nano glue" could be a game-changer.

Previous success in the field of ultra-lightweight "aerogel monoliths" has largely relied on the use of precious gold and silver nanowires.

By turning instead to copper, both abundant and cheap, researchers at Monash University and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication have developed a way of making flexible conductors cost-effective enough for commercial application.

"Aerogel monoliths are like kitchen sponges but ours are made of ultra fine copper nanowires, using a fabrication process called freeze drying," said lead researcher Associate Professor Wenlong Cheng, from Monash University's Department of Chemical Engineering.

"The copper aerogel monoliths are conductive and could be further embedded into polymeric elastomers extremely flexible, stretchable materials to obtain conducting rubbers."

Despite its conductivity, copper's tendency to oxidation and the poor mechanical stability of copper nanowire aerogel monoliths mean its potential has been largely unexplored.

The researchers found that adding a trace amount of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) to their aerogels substantially improved their mechanical strength and robustness without impairing their conductivity.

What's more, once the PVA was included, the aerogels could be used to make electrically conductive rubber materials without the need for any prewiring. Reshaping was also easy.

"The conducting rubbers could be shaped in arbitrary 1D, 2D and 3D shapes simply by cutting, while maintaining the conductivities," Associate Professor Cheng said.

The versatility extends to the degree of conductivity. "The conductivity can be tuned simply by adjusting the loading of copper nanowires," he said. "A low loading of nano wires would be appropriate for a pressure sensor whereas a high loading is suitable for a stretchable conductor."

Affordable versions of these materials open up the potential for use in a range of new-generation concepts: from prosthetic skin to electronic paper, for implantable medical devices, and for flexible displays and touch screens.

They can be used in rubber-like electronic devices that, unlike paper-like electronic devices, can stretch as well as bend. They can also be attached to topologically complex curved surfaces, serving as real skin-like sensing devices, Associate Professor Cheng said.

In their report, published recently in ACS Nano, the researchers noted that devices using their copper-based aerogels were not quite as sensitive as those using gold nanowires, but had many other advantages, most notably their low-cost materials, simpler and more affordable processing, and great versatility.


Contact: Glynis Smalley
Monash University

Related biology news :

1. Maize and bacteria: A 1-2 punch knocks copper out of stamp sand
2. 2-proton bit controlled by a single copper atom
3. How the cells remove copper
4. Copper intake makes tumors breathe
5. Futuristic copper foam batteries get more bang for the buck
6. Elevated levels of copper in amyloid plaques associated with neurodegeneration in mouse models of AD
7. After millennia of mining, copper nowhere near peak
8. New study shows how copper restricts the spread of global antibiotic-resistant infections
9. Scripps Research Institute scientists show copper facilitates prion disease
10. Coppers previously unknown exit strategy
11. Copper making salmon prone to predators
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Copper shines as flexible conductor
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 NXTD ) ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market and ... StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and buy ... smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday season. ... the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the present ... of concern for various industry verticals such as banking, ... to the growing demand for secure & simplified access ... ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of ... equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Calif. , Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. ... solutions, today announced that Google has adopted the Synaptics ... touch controller solutions to power its newest flagship smartphones, ... by Huawei. --> ... like Google to provide strategic collaboration in the joint ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Culprits beware, a ... chemistry professor Jan Halámek, is taking crime scene ...   -->   ... --> --> ... have discovered a straightforward concept for identifying whether ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Epigenetics Corp. ("Zenith" or ... Norman C.W. Wong to its Board of Directors to ... Zenith with a wealth of experience as co-founder of Resverlogix, ... --> --> Dr. Wong ... board of directors. Zenith,s long standing expertise in epigenetics and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Imagine Exhibitions and Universal Partnerships ... opening in March 2016 at Melbourne Museum in Melbourne, Australia. Immediately following the ... American tour dates. The Exhibition is based on Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World, one ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), the genomics-based, technology-driven ... Genomics, Inc., a leading genome informatics company offering highly ... The San Diego -based company has ... and Co-founder, Ashley Van Zeeland , Ph.D., who is ... of the deal were not disclosed. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: