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@Ankita Katdare • 16 Jan, 2015 • 1 like
In the year 2014, we saw the upsurge of wearable electronic gadgets becoming a part of common man's life. Be it smartwatches or smartglasses, the top leading tech companies are venturing into the business of introducing devices that can be worn. In line with that development, here's what a team of material engineers from University of Wisconsin-Madison has been up to. Their recent research work points at significant development towards building higher-performance electronics that are not only stretchable or flexible, but also offer a longer battery life. The team of engineering students led by Prof. Padma Gopalan and Prof. Michael Arnold have demonstrated the highest-performing carbon nanotube transistors ever. Now carbon nanotubes have a wide range of applications in everything from electrical circuits to actuators, solar cells, supercapacitor, optical power detectors etc. With the latest research from the UW-Madison University, flexible electronics could find use in industrial and military applications too.

The team has demonstrated transistors with an 1000x better on-off ratio and 100x better conductance than existing state-of-the-art carbon nanotube transistors. This new kind of electronic devices wouldn't be made from brittle materials and thus integrating electronics even in clothes would be possible.

carbon-nanotube-transistors-flexible-electronics

The two challenges before the team were - to control the placement & alignment of nanotubes and to isolate purely semiconducting carbon nanotubes. They used cutting-edge technologies to selectively sort out the semiconducting nanotubes and pioneered a new technique, called floating evaporative self-assembly, or FESA, to use a self-assembly phenomenon triggered by rapidly evaporating a carbon nanotube solution.

The recent advances in the team's research hint at the possibility of replacing silicon transistors with carbon nanotube ones in computer chips and in high-frequency communication devices. It is a need of the hour in electronics domain to find a solution to the problem of our electronic devices reaching their physical scaling and performance limits. What are your thoughts on the era of flexible high-performance electronics? Share with us in comments below.

Source: UW-Madison Research | Published Paper
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