Significant Advancement in the Application of Carbon Nanotubes in Flexible Electronics

The Chair of Display Technology, Universitaet Stuttgart, and Nano-Proprietary, Inc.'s subsidiary Applied Nanotech, Inc. announce significant advancement in the application of carbon nanotubes for the flexible electronics industry. ANI has been performing research and development in collaboration with the Chair of Display Technology, Universitaet Stuttgart to develop high performance carbon nanotube thin film transistors (TFTs) suitable for use in the flexible electronics industry.

These devices are at the core of displays, electronic circuits, sensors, memory chips, and other applications that are transitioning from rigid substrates, such as silicon and glass, to flexible substrates. ANI and the Universitaet Stuttgart have worked together to increase the fabrication yield of carbon nanotube TFTs using ANI’s proprietary printing-like method of carbon nanotube deposition. The TFTs exceed an on/off ratio of five orders of magnitude and achieve the electron mobility necessary for their utilization for low temperature plastic-based substrates.

At the last Society for Information Display (SID) International Symposium, held in May 2008, the Chair of Display Technology of Universitaet Stuttgart presented the world’s first full color active matrix LCD where ITO as transparent conductive film (TCF) was completely replaced by random carbon nanotube (CNTs) networks. The display has a qVGA resolution (320xRGBx240) at 4” diagonal. The CNT networks are deposited by spray coating from suspension, which replaces a costly vacuum process. This demonstrates for the first time the applicability of CNTs as TCF in a state-of-the-art amorphous silicon active matrix process. It also gives a great perspective for future flexible displays, since CNT networks are much more reliable in flexible applications than the amorphous ITO. The complete display, including AM-backplane, color filters, and a dedicated addressing system was developed designed and fabricated at the Universitaet of Stuttgart.

“The collaboration with the Universitaet Stuttgart is very productive. Their expertise and facilities for microelectronic processes are well-known and are very suitable for our need to transition from an idea to a proof of concept,” said Dr. Zvi Yaniv, Chief Executive Officer of Applied Nanotech.

“Our cooperation with Applied Nanotech, Inc. is an excellent and very positive experience. Their extensive CNT TFT process know how was instrumental for kick-starting the CNT TFT work in our lab, which is an ideal extension of our pre-existing CNT-TCF efforts.” said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Norbert Fruehauf, Chair of Display Technology University of Stuttgart.

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