CEVP Grows Precision Carbon Nanotubes at Room Temperature

December 14, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

CEVP Ltd. has developed a fabrication tool to commercialize the revolutionary low temperature carbon nanotube growth process developed by the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). The new tool, called NanoGrowth, is currently being trailed and characterized by ATI, and the two partners anticipate releasing the technology for commercial use in March 2006.

The exploitation of the incredible mechanical and electrical properties of carbon nanotubes in precision applications such as integrated circuits, high performance transistors, low-resistance nanowires and flat panel displays has been hindered by current growth techniques, which can elevate substrate temperatures to 1000 degrees C or more, resulting in damage or quality issues. In contrast, the new NanoGrowth tool, which is designed to deliver nanomaterial growth across areas up to three inches in diameter, employs a unique thermal control system to maintain the growth substrate at room temperature.

"The goal of this tool is to make precision carbon nanotube fabrication possible at low temperatures, together with a scale of growth area that is suitable for many high technology applications," says Ben Jensen of CEVP. "We believe it will be the first platform for making carbon nanotubes and nanowires a practical proposition in commercial high technology applications."

The integrated thermal control system maintains the work area substrate at room temperatures during processing, allowing carbon nanotube materials to be grown vertically and horizontally with precision - even on highly heat sensitive materials such as plastic or metalised paper. The tool may also be used to grow related nanomaterials including doped silicon nanowires and tungsten oxide nanowires on suitable substrates.