CNT Application Development Team

The CNT Application Development Team aims at exploiting the characteristics of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) fabricated using the super-growth method and expand the practical application of CNTs by demonstrating their potential in numerous directions through the development of dispersion technologies, CNT composites, and CNT device fabrication technologies.

Development of CNT dispersions

With long length and high aspect ratio, a CNT is fibrous in nature, not particulate. As a result, CNTs in a dispersed state form a complex, intertwined structure which has a great influence on the properties of the resultant composite using this material. Our research team is engaged in the development of various CNT dispersions and dispersion fabrication technologies, with the aim of exploiting the characteristics of CNTs when integrated with other materials. In addition, the team is engaged in the development of industrially scalable dispersion fabrication technologies that facilitate the mass production of CNTs.

SEM image of carbon nanotube dispersions

Development of CNT-rubber and CNT-plastic composites

When CNT dispersions are integrated with rubber or plastic, a material with innovative functions can be realized. The research team has integrated CNT dispersions with rubber and other materials and succeeded in developing new CNT-rubber composites, which possess electrical conductivity while retaining rubber properties. Furthermore, these CNT-rubber composites have also exhibited significant thermal robustness compared to conventional rubbers, thermal conductivity comparable to metals, and can be shaped with high precision not possible with conventional rubbers. Our team is also engaged in the development of mass fabrication technologies that aid practical application of these composites. Furthermore, as in the case of rubber, the research team is also integrating CNTs with plastic, to develop plastic materials with improved conductivity, heat resistance, etc. The CNT Application Development Team is aiming to expand the practical application of CNTs through technology transfer and by developing commercial products employing CNT-rubber and/or CNT-plastic composites.

Carbon nanotube-carbon fiber-rubber composite

Development of CNT-copper composites

When CNTs are integrated with copper, the result is an innovative material, not only lighter than conventional copper but with 100 times greater ampacity. The research team is investigating a wide range of fabrication methods that facilitate its mass production, and is also developing wiring and wire-forming technologies, so that the team will be able to supply research samples required for mass production and application development of this material, with the overall aim of promoting the practical application of this innovative new material.

Carbon nanotube-copper composite (left)

Development of CNT devices

Utilizing the CNT composites described above, as well as CNTs and related microfabrication technologies, the research team is engaged in the application development of, for example, mechanically robust field-effect transistors (FET) whose operation can withstand flexure and compression, flexible energy devices, and CNT strain sensors.

Carbon nanotube strain sensor