STTR Phase I:Structural properties of carbon nanotube polymer composites
This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project will develop a new system for fabrication and manipulation of carbon nanotube (CNT) composites. The system will use holographic optical trapping (HOT) with a spatial light modulator (SLM) and a new form of nano-controlled photo-polymerization. This tool will allow the creation of a new class of carbon-nanotube polymer composite materials with unprecedented control over the material structure, including orientation, distribution, tangling and shape, in a variety of different polymer hosts. Realization of these new material systems will facilitate systematic exploration of the mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties and structure-property relationships in organized carbon-nanotube composites.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project relates not only the development of a new class of engineered materials but also to improvement of available nanofabrication methods and technology for multi-trap holographic optical trapping (HOT) systems. The new nanofabrication system to be developed will open new avenues for fabricating nanomaterial systems which were previously unsuitable for industrial fabrication. The development of a system capable of producing moderate volumes of material creates a means for systematic study of the macroscopic properties of carbon-nanotube/polymer composite structures. One potential market for carbon-nanotube composites is as an alternative to Indium Tin Oxide (ITO). ITO is widely used in the rapidly growing display market and in the infrared optical device market. However, due to the high cost and limited supply of Indium, alternative transparent conductors are highly desirable. Additionally, there are well over a hundred published research groups pursuing optical trapping, primarily for biological research, who would represent a sizable market for advances in the HOT method. This market demands continued improvement of technology, and the incorporation of these systems into complex microscope tools has piqued the interest of microscope manufacturers in active wave-front modulation devices as optional product accessories.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
450 Courtney Way Unit 107 Lafayette, CO 80026
Number of Employees:
The University of Colorado at Boulder
3100 Marine Street, Room 481
Boulder, CO 80026