The nanonets are made of tiny semiconducting cylinders called single walled carbon nanotubes. Metallic nanotubes form unavoidably during the process of making carbon nanotubes. These metal tubes then link together in meandering threads that eventually stretch across the width of the transistor, causing a short circuit.
"Other researchers have proposed eliminating the metallic nanotubes," Rogers said. "Instead, we found a very nice way of essentially removing the effect of these metallic nanotubes without actually eliminating them."
The researchers created a flexible circuit containing more than 100 transistors, the largest nanonet ever produced and the first demonstration of a working nanonet circuit, Alam said.
"Now there is no fundamental reason why we couldn't develop nanonet technologies," he said. "If you can make a flexible circuit with 100 transistors, you can make circuits with 10,000 or more transistors."
The advance may allow researchers to use carbon nanotube transistors to create high-performance, shock-resistant, lightweight and flexible integrated circuits at low cost, Alam said.
A key advantage of the nanonet technology is that it can be produced at low temperatures, enabling the transistors to be placed on flexible plastic sheets that would melt under the high temperatures required to manufacture silicon-based transistors, he said.
Possible applications include an electronic skin that covers an aircraft and automatically monitors the formation of cracks to alert technicians and prevent catastrophic failures.
Such shape-conforming electronics are not possible using conventional silicon-based circuits, which are manufactured on rigid wafers or glass plates.
"Now electronics are flat, which limits their utility since most objects in real life are not flat," Roy said.
Flexible displays could
|Contact: Emil Venere|