Indian stars in nanotech success
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Indian stars in nanotech success

Swastik has developed a new process to make flexible ?nano skins? conduct electricity, reports S Rajagopalan.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 01:22 IST

A team of researchers, led by an Indian American professor, has developed a new process to make flexible ‘nano skins’ conducting electricity for a variety of applications from electronic paper to sensors for detecting chemical and biological agents.

Featured in the March issue of the journal Nano Letters, the materials are said to combine the strength and conductivity of carbon nanotubes with the flexibility of traditional polymers.

“Researchers have long been interested in making composites of nanotubes and polymers, but it can be difficult to engineer the interfaces between the two materials.

We have found a way to get arrays of nanotubes into a soft polymer matrix without disturbing the alignment of the nanotubes,” says Pulickel Ajayan, the Henry Burlage Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York.

The skins can be flexed and rolled up like a scroll, all while maintaining their ability to conduct electricity, which makes them ideal materials for electronic paper and other flexible electronics.

Swastik Kar, a postdoctoral researcher working with Ajayan and lead author of the paper, explains that the concept could have many other applications — from adhesive structures and Velcro-like materials to nanotube interconnects for electronics.

Researchers envision using the process to build miniature pressure sensors and gas detectors. “There are several possibilities if you have an easy way to transfer the nanotubes to any platform, and that is what we have done,” Ajayan says.

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 01:06 IST