Self-constructing plastic nanofibres!
Chemists at CNRS and the University of Strasbourg have developed electricity-conducting nanoscale fibres that are flexible, super-light and are able to self-assemble when triggered by light. Perfect for integrating into ultra-miniaturized systems in flexible equipment like flat screens, printed nano-circuits, solar cells, etc.
To build their several nanometre-thick fibres, Nicolas Giuseppone (Charles Sadron Institute), Bernard Doudin (Institute of Physics and Chemistry of Materials of Strasbourg) and their colleagues worked with synthetic molecules,triarylamines, used in Xerox’s photocopying process. By modifying these molecules, the French chemists found that they self-assembled in a solution under light. This gave them wires a few hundred nanometres (nm) long by supramolecular assembly.
Going further, the researchers placed two gold electrodes 100 nm apart and applied an electric field. They found that the wires self-assembled the same way between the two electrodes and had extraordinary properties. These very light and flexible nanofibres were capable of transporting high current densities (above 2.106 amp/cm2), approaching the capacity of copper wire.
The researchers’ next step will be to demonstrate that these fibres can be used industrially in electronic devices like flexible screens, solar cells, transistors, printed nano-circuits, etc.
This offers opportunities for "meeting one of the most important challenges of 21st century electronics," stresses the CNRS: miniaturizing components down to the nanometric scale.
© M. Maaloum, ICS (CNRS)
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