The North Carolina State University researchers are investigating how to use conductive nanocoatings on the surface of textiles.
The lead author of the research paper, Dr. Jesse Jur, stated that usually, conductive nanocoatings are applied on inorganic substances such as silicon. He explained that a new cost-effective method needs to be devised to apply conductive nanocoatings on textiles, which would prove to be an efficient technique to enhance existing and upcoming electronic device types.
Coatings of inorganic substances normally used in equipment such as sensors, microelectronics and solar cells were formed on textile surface such as non-woven polypropylene and woven cotton by the atomic layer deposition method.
The researchers developed a process to measure the electrical conductivity of conductive coatings on textiles. The existing standard for calculating conductivity involves the use of a four-point probe that supplies current between one set of probes and detects the voltage between the other set of probes. Researchers could not achieve accuracy in measurements on textile materials owing to the small size of probes.
Researchers explain a new approach in the paper which involves the use of large probes to measure the conductivity of the nanocoating accurately. This novel system grants researchers a clear understanding of the technique of applying coating to textiles to convert them into conductive devices. The research does not aim at designing complex electronic equipment but several simple electronic devices, which could benefit using the lightweight flexibility rendered by textile materials.