Mass production of new class of semiconductors closer to reality

February 09, 2018

Two Waterloo chemists have made it easier for manufacturers to produce a new class of faster and cheaper semiconductors.

The chemists have found a way to simultaneously control the orientation and select the size of single-walled carbon nanotubes deposited on a surface. That means the developers of semiconductors can use carbon as opposed to silicon, which will reduce the size and increase the speed of the devices while improving their battery life.

"We're reaching the limits of what's physically possible with silicon-based devices," said co-author Derek Schipper, Canada Research Chair Organic Material Synthesis at the University of Waterloo. "Not only would single-walled carbon nanotube-based electronics be more powerful, they would also consume less power."

The process, called the Alignment Relay Technique, relies on liquid crystals to pass orientation information to a metal-oxide surface. Small molecules called iptycenes then bond to the surface locking the orientation pattern into place. Their structure includes a small pocket large enough to fit a certain size carbon nanotube that remains after washing.

"This is the first time chemists have been able to externally control the orientation of small molecules covalently bonded to a surface," said Schipper, a professor of chemistry and a member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. "We're not the first ones to come up with potential solutions to work with carbon nanotubes. But this is the only one that tackles both orientation and purity challenges at the same time."

Schipper further pointed out that the approach is from the bottom up with the use of organic chemistry to design and build a molecule which then does the hard work.

"Once you've built the pieces, the process is simple. It's a bench-top method requiring no special equipment," Schipper explained.

In contrast to self-assembly techniques which rely on the design of a suitable molecule to fit snuggly together, this process can be controlled at every step, including the size of the iptycene "pocket". In addition, this is the first a solution has been found to tackling the challenge of aligning and purifying carbon nanotubes at the same time.
-end-
The study, co-authored by Serxho Selmani, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemistry at Waterloo, appears this week in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

University of Waterloo

Related Carbon Nanotubes Articles from Brightsurf:

How plantains and carbon nanotubes can improve cars
Researchers from the University of Johannesburg have shown that plantain, a starchy type of banana, is a promising renewable source for an emerging type of lighter, rust-free composite materials for the automotive industry.

New production method for carbon nanotubes gets green light
A new method of producing carbon nanotubes -- tiny molecules with incredible physical properties used in touchscreen displays, 5G networks and flexible electronics -- has been given the green light by researchers, meaning work in this crucial field can continue.

Growing carbon nanotubes with the right twist
Researchers synthetize nanotubes with a specific structure expanding previous theories on carbon nanotube growth.

Research shows old newspapers can be used to grow carbon nanotubes
New research has found that old newspaper provide a cheap and green solution for the bulk production of single walled carbon nanotubes.

Clean carbon nanotubes with superb properties
Scientists at Aalto University, Finland, and Nagoya University, Japan, have found a new way to make ultra-clean carbon nanotube transistors with superior semiconducting properties.

Dietary fiber effectively purifies carbon nanotubes
A dietary fiber can help separate out semiconducting carbon nanotubes used for making transistors for flexible electronics.

Why modified carbon nanotubes can help the reproducibility problem
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) conducted an in-depth study on how carbon nanotubes with oxygen-containing groups can be used to greatly enhance the performance of perovskite solar cells.

Tensile strength of carbon nanotubes depends on their chiral structures
Single-walled carbon nanotubes should theoretically be extremely strong, but it remains unclear why their experimental tensile strengths are lower and vary among nanotubes.

New study reveals carbon nanotubes measurement possible for the first time
Swansea University scientists report an entirely new approach to manipulation of carbon nanotubes that allows physical measurements to be made on carbon nanotubes that have previously only been possible by theoretical computation.

Neural networks will help manufacture carbon nanotubes
A team of scientists from Skoltech's Laboratory of Nanomaterials proposed a neural-network-based method for monitoring the growth of carbon nanotubes, preparing the ground for a new generation of sophisticated electronic devices.

Read More: Carbon Nanotubes News and Carbon Nanotubes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.