Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, Netherlands) scientists have designed a nano-material to replace indium tin oxide (ITO) used in displays for TVs, telephones and laptops, besides solar cells. Indium is a rare metal and is expected to disappear within a decade.
The nano-material is transparent film developed in water and based on carbon nanotubes and plastic nanoparticles that conduct electricity. It is fabricated from common materials, and is eco-friendly. The research explains conduction in complicated composites. The paper has appeared online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Post-doctoral student Andriy Kyrylyuk is the lead author of the paper.
The team combined low concentrations of carbon nanotubes and conducting latex in a cost- effective polystyrene film to obtain high conductivity. The nanotubes and the latex represent less than 1% of the film weight. A greater number of carbon nanotubes turn the film black and opaque. Theoretical physicist Paul van der Schoot and polymer chemist Cor Koning led the team.
Nanotubes were dissolved in water and a conducting latex was added with polystyrene beads to bind. The mixture is heated fusing the polystyrene beads to create the film having a conducting nanotubes and beads network. The water was frozen-dried to remove it.
The conductive film can be used in displays as an antistatic layer. It can also be used for EMI shielding that will help protect systems and environments from electromagnetic radiation. The film is eco-friendly and water- based, and has no heavy metals. This makes it suitable for flexible display screens.