Motorola Labs Announces Significant Progress in Carbon Nanotube Technology - New Product

Motorola Labs, the applied research arm of Motorola, Inc., (NYSE:MOT), announced today exciting results from its carbon nanotechnology research. Motorola Labs is currently doing research to integrate these nanotech advances into key applications, including large flat panel displays.

Dubbed “nano emissive display” (NED), the technology enables manufacturers to design large flat panel displays that exceed the image quality characteristics of plasma and LCD screens at a lower cost. Motorola currently is in discussions with electronics manufacturers in Europe and Asia to license the technology for commercialization.

Motorola’s NED approach to displays could enable low cost, flat panel wall-mounted television, greater than 50“ diagonal, and just one inch deep to become a reality in the not too distant future. The technology also could be used for much larger displays, such as those used in billboard advertising or sporting events.

“Motorola will continue to develop technologies like this and they will be a key element of our strategy to do Intellectual Asset Technology Licensing and Transfer,” said Janiece Webb, senior vice president and general manager, Advanced Technology Businesses, Motorola. “We are excited by these research gains in carbon nanotechnology and the promise they can hold for large, flat displays as well as their other applications.”

Carbon nanotubes, or CNTs, are tubes of carbon atoms less than a nanometer — one billionth of a meter — in diameter. CNTs possess a combination of unique properties that make them highly programmable for a variety of purposes, including flat panel displays.

Motorola developed a process to grow CNTs at low temperatures. This capability is important because the commercial material with which they must bond, such as glass or transistors, are heat sensitive.

In addition, Motorola has created a method to precisely place CNTs individually on a surface material, in addition to controlling their length and diameter. This innovation gives manufacturers the ability to design products, on a molecular level, to enhance specific characteristics.

The ability to place CNTs directly on a substrate while controlling their spacing, size, and length, provides a high quality image with optimized electron emissions, brightness, color purity and resolution for flat panel displays. Other attempts in this field utilize a “paste” or “print” method of applying CNTs, which to date, have not been able to provide the same level of display image quality, or the potential cost savings of Motorola’s NED process.

"Demand for large flat panel displays will not explode until manufacturers reach a price point that is reasonable to the average consumer," said Bob O'Donnell, director, personal technology, at IDC (International Display Corp.). "For this reason, we believe the market is ripe for a disruptive technology, such as carbon nanotubes, that provides a CRT quality image at a cost that is significantly lower than current plasma and LCD offerings."

Motorola Labs currently is developing these nanotech research gains for application in other industries, always looking for ways to make lives smarter, simpler, safer, more synchronized and fun. Possibilities include improved fuel and solar cells, ultra-small transistors, biotech sensors that identify pathogens in the human body, and environmental applications that reduce pollutants.

Posted 1st July 2003

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