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'Nanonet' circuits closer to making flexible electronics reality
Date:7/23/2008

be integrated into automotive windshields to provide information for drivers. Other potential applications include "electronic paper" that displays text and images, solar cells that could be printed on plastic sheets and television screens capable of being rolled up for transport and storage.

"For these types of applications, manufacturers might literally print, or stamp, circuits onto plastic sheets, like the roll-to-roll printing used to print newspapers," Alam said.

Conventional circuits for flat-panel televisions contain transistors made of materials called polysilicon or amorphous silicon, which cannot be used in flexible applications.

Nanonet transistors are promising for so-called macroelectronics because they are best suited for large-scale applications, but these transistors may not be as well suited for the requirements of microelectronic circuits, such as those in computer chips, Alam said.

The nanotubes are arranged randomly and overlap each other like tiny needles. If the nanonet area is large enough, the overlapping metallic nanotubes will eventually form a meandering string across the entire transistor, causing a short circuit. But if the device is segmented into strips, this meandering path of metallic rods is cut at the point where the lines separate one strip from another, preventing short circuits.

The metallic nanotubes make up about one-third of the nanotubes in the transistor. Because the carbon nanotubes are twice as numerous as the metallic tubes, enough of them exist to form a complete circuit. The models and simulations are needed to tell researchers precisely how wide to make the strips so that the pathway of metallic tubes is cut but the carbon nanotubes complete their circuit.

"The theory and simulation work done at Purdue shows there is always a way to break the metallic path and still keep the semi conducting carbon-nanotube path intact," Alam said. "The teams at Illinois and Pur
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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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