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Printing Flexible High-Performance Thin-Film Transistors Using Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes
Keywords: Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes, Thin-film transistor, Printed flexible devices
The availability of high-purity and stable single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) solutions is instrumental for fabricating high-performance electronic devices using CNT materials. Moreover, traditional device fabrication processes present another obstacle from both technical and economical perspectives. Consequently, inexpensive low-temperature deposition technology is essential for the realization and commercialization of high-performance flexible SWCNT devices. For flexible devices, processing temperatures are limited due to the fact that most of the polymeric substrates deform or even degrade at high temperatures (> 250˚C). In this paper, an ultrapure, surfactant-free, and dispersed SWCNT aqueous solution that can be spin-coated, spray-coated, and ink-jet printed is presented. The SWCNT solution has very low metal content and is nearly free of carbaneous impurities. Metals and carbonaceous impurities are present in high quantities in the raw SWCNT material and must be removed prior to use in any CNT-based applications. The need to remove surfactant after SWCNT deposition is eliminated with this surfactant-free SWCNT solution. An Aerosol Jet printing technology is applied to print a high-speed thin-film transistor (TFT) on a flexible substrate. The presented SWCNT solution is printed in the device as the carrier transport layer. All the TFT components, source and drain electrodes, carrier transport layer, dielectric layer, and gate electrode, are fabricated using this printing technology at or near room temperature. The SWCNT TFT device was characterized and exhibited an On/Off ratio of > 100 and an operation frequency of > 5 GHz. The presented SWCNT aqueous solution and printing technology enable high-performance flexible devices to be printed in a highly economical manner by eliminating the need for costly and complex traditional semiconductor fabrication processes.
Wu-Sheng Shih, Lead Scientist
Brewer Science, Inc.
Rolla, MO

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