SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. (SWeNT), a leading manufacturer of single-wall and specialty multi-wall carbon nanotubes, has been awarded a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). This grant will fund SWeNT’s development of semiconducting inks, based on its single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) technology, suitable for printing thin film transistors (TFTs).
SWeNT will conduct this work in partnership with Panasonic Boston Laboratory (PBL) of Panasonic R&D Company of America, Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America. PBL will fabricate and test TFT devices to assure the necessary performance is demonstrated.
TFT backplanes are used to control the pixels in virtually all flat panel displays. Today, most TFTs are made using polycrystalline silicon (p-Si) semiconductor materials and require a costly fabrication process involving vacuum deposition and several lithographic steps. It is recognized that printing will be a far more cost effective method of manufacture. Other printable semiconductor materials exist, but all either fail to meet TFT performance requirements or require high temperature processing, which severely limits their utility.
“Carbon nanotubes may have inherent properties that make them uniquely suitable for the printing of high performance and low-cost TFTs,” said Dr. Xinbing Liu, director of Panasonic Boston Laboratory. “My opinion is that SWeNT’s SWCNT technology gives the best chance of exploiting those properties. Successful development will have a major impact on the displays industry. We are happy to contribute to this important project.”
“SWeNT will leverage its current NIST-TIP grant program to produce semiconductor grade SWCNTs,” commented SWeNT CEO Dave Arthur, “which we will convert into printable inks using proprietary V2V ink technology. Our inks overcome two market barriers, commercial availability and compatibility with standard printing equipment. We’re very grateful for this additional support from the state of Oklahoma and OCAST. They have been instrumental in helping SWeNT achieve its position as the leading single-wall carbon nanotube producer in the U.S. And of course, we are delighted that Panasonic is collaborating with us on this development project.”