Carbon nanotube polymer nanocomposites for field emission cathodes

Apr 09, 2009

A collaboration between researchers at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) and the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin have discovered that you can produce a composite of carbon nanotubes embedded in a polymer that gives outstanding performance as an electron emitter material. Under high voltage these electrons strike a phosphor screen producing the familiar colours of red, green and blue and opens up the possibility of highly efficient large area field emission displays as well as possible uses as low power back lighting units in LCD televisions.

Carbon nanotubes are rolled up sheets of a few billionths of a meter in diameter and the results of this study, recently reported in the journal Small, show that by adding just 1% carbon nanotubes embedded in a water soluble polymer gives the same performance as one with around 10%. By controlling the concentration of nanotubes, efficient emission of electrons from the composite surface is possible with negligible material wastage. By tailoring the correct choice of polymer and the chemical treatment of the nanotubes opens up the possibility of large area based electronics, including transparent electronics on plastic.

Dr David Carey, who led the Surrey research group, said: "Our successful exploitation of carbon nanotube based electronics for display technology demonstrates the importance of multidisciplinary collaborative research. The work at Surrey and Dublin shows how making changes on the nanoscale can affect a material’s properties over a much larger scale and can lead to their exploitation in large area electronics."

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the Advanced Technology Institute commented: "This type of high quality research which brings nanoscience through to engineering is what could lead to many practical applications that require high intensity electron field emission sources. The ATI at Surrey has significant expertise in this field and is leading the way in the application of carbon nanotubes."

More information: ‘Carbon Nanotube Polymer Nanocomposites for Field Emission Cathodes’ by Thomas Connolly, Richard C. Smith, Yenny Hernandez, Yurii Gun’ko, Jonathan N. Coleman, and J. David Carey, Small, volume 5, pages 826 - 831 (2009). dx.doi.org/10.1002/smll.200801094

Provided by University of Surrey

Explore further: Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Reversed growth reveals secrets of carbon nanotubes

Aug 25, 2006

Researchers at the Advanced Technology Institute, University of Surrey have reversed the growth of carbon nanotubes from catalysts, using electron beam irradiation in an electron microscope. High resolution imaging of this ...

Bio-nanotechnology to kill cancer cells

Nov 06, 2006

The University of Surrey has been awarded a grant of £420,000 to utilize nanotechnology to develop cancer treatments. The grant is part of an international project: “Multifunctional Carbon Nanotubes for Biomedical Applications ...

'Nanotechnology: small science‚ big deal'

Mar 09, 2005

The University of Surrey’s world-class expertise in nanotechnology research is a key contributor to a new exhibition entitled ‘Nanotechnology: small science‚ big deal’, now showing at the Science Museum in London. ...

Probing the inner secrets of multi-layer carbon nanotubes

Apr 18, 2007

Researchers at the University of Surrey have shown for the first time that knowing the structure of the surface layer of a multi-layer carbon nanotube is not enough to predict its electronic properties. The contribution of ...

Recommended for you

Making graphene in your kitchen

5 hours ago

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

Apr 17, 2014

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

Wiring up carbon-based electronics

Apr 17, 2014

Carbon-based nanostructures such as nanotubes, graphene sheets, and nanoribbons are unique building blocks showing versatile nanomechanical and nanoelectronic properties. These materials which are ordered ...

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.