High Volume, Low-Cost Production of High-Purity Carbon Nanotubes
Department of Defense
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35 Galen Street, Watertown, MA, 02172
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractCarbon nanotubes have tremendous potential in many applications, but are limited by their high cost. The cost is driven by two factors, the low process yield and the laborious purification procedures required by current synthesis techniques, DC dischargeand laser ablation. However, nanotubes produced by the Chemical Vapor Deposition process have both high yield and purity, as well as control over nanotube diameter and length. Further, straight, aligned nanotubes can be grown on a substrate, a keyadvantage for device fabrication. NanoLab is the exclusive licensee of the CVD nanotube growth process developed by Dr. Zhifeng Ren and patented by the University of Buffalo. Dr. Ren, now at Boston College, has performed the fundamental research on thisprocess, as highlighted in the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Therefore, the program goal is to design and implement a high output pilot facility for carbon nanotube production. The key development will be a CVD belt furnace, where nanotubes can becontinuously harvested. In Phase I, we will demonstrate a semi-continuous process for nanotube production, based on an extension of the existing CVD technology. After validating the semicontinuous production, we will design a full scale production unitfor large quantity nanotube synthesis.The advent of production quantities of carbon nanotubes will enable new applications that become viable when the cost is lower. Field emission displays, sensors, and other devices can be effectively produced using thisprocess, as well as bulk materials for composites and high volume applications.
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