This patent application is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Nanostructures, such as carbon nanotube (CNT)-based materials, have been increasingly used in a multitude of disparate applications. For example, some CNT-based applications have involved a thin, sub-monolayer network of interconnected CNTs. These electronically conducting films can be highly transparent due to their nano-scale thickness (e.g.,
"While nanomaterial structures such as CNT networks have been used in certain applications, their use has been limited in many applications such as those benefiting from or requiring high levels of transparency and conductivity. For example, various high-end applications such as displays and photovoltaics often benefit from the use of one or more electrodes that possess high optical transparency and high conductivity. Achieving such transparency and conductivity levels with nanomaterials such as CNT networks has been challenging due to a variety of factors, such as those involving the formation of CNT networks and variations in the characteristics of nanomaterials such as CNTs (e.g., chiralities, diameters). Moreover, junctions between nanostructures can be highly resistive. In addition, modifying nanomaterials to achieve desired properties has been burdensome or otherwise difficult, is oftentimes temporary, commonly involves toxic materials, and can be expensive.
"These and other issues remain challenges to a variety of methods, devices and systems that use or benefit from nanostructures."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Various aspects of the present invention are directed to devices, methods, materials, and systems involving nanostructures that address challenges including those discussed above.
"According to an example embodiment, a joining material is deposited at a junction between nanostructures, where the junction may involve crossing, adjacent, touching, or nearly-touching nanostructures. The joining material is nucleated to form a nucleated material between the nanostructures to physically, and in some instances, electrically-couple the nanostructures together.
"Another example embodiment is directed to a method for joining nanostructures by depositing a molecular joining material between the nanostructures. The joining material is nucleated at the junction to form a nucleated material between the nanostructures and physically couple the nanostructures together.
"Another example embodiment is directed to joining nanostructures to form a nanomaterial film. A joining material is deposited at junctions between nanostructures and nucleated. The nucleated joining material forms conductive material at each of the junctions to physically couple the nanostructures together to form the nanomaterial film, and can further dope the nanostructures. The dopant material in the joining material effectively reduces a resistance value of the nanostructures relative to a resistance value of the nanostructures, prior to doping the nanostructures (e.g., electrical/thermal conductivity is enhanced).
"According to another example embodiment, carbon-based nanostructures are joined to form an organic-based nanomaterial film. A joining material is deposited at junctions between a plurality of carbon-based nanostructures, and the joining material is nucleated (the junctions serve as a nucleation site). The nucleated joining material forms charge transport structures at each of the junctions to physically couple the carbon-based nanostructures, and to electrically couple the carbon-based nanostructures, to form the organic nanomaterial film. The nucleated joining material also forms a hybrid material on sidewalls of the carbon-based nanostructures, where the hybrid material includes a material from the carbon-based nanostructures and a dopant from the joining material, and reduces a resistance value of the carbon-based nanostructures (relative to the nanostructures' resistance, prior to formation of the hybrid material).
"Other example embodiments are directed to films, circuits and devices using joined nanomaterials, such as discussed above. One such embodiment is directed to a transparent electronic circuit having a plurality of nanostructures, with a nucleated joining material at junctions (physical or gaps) between the nanostructures. The nucleated joining material physically and electrically couples the nanostructures at the junctions.
"The above summary is not intended to describe each embodiment or every implementation of the present disclosure. The figures and detailed description that follow more particularly exemplify various embodiments.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"The invention may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments of the invention in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which.
"FIG. 1 shows a nanostructure 100 at various stages of a joining process, according to an example embodiment of the present invention;
"FIGS. 2A-2C show nanostructures at various stages of manufacture and in accordance with one or more example embodiments, in which
"FIG. 2A shows nanotubes arranged for joining,
"FIG. 2B shows the nanotubes with a joining material having been deposited at junctions between the nanotubes, and
"FIG. 2C shows nanotubes joined with a nucleated joining material;
"FIG. 3 is a graph showing plots of current/voltage characteristics of a nanostructure joined using C.sub.60, in accordance with other example embodiments;
"FIG. 4 is a graph showing plots of current/voltage characteristics of a high-density nanostructure joined using C.sub.60, in accordance with other example embodiments;
"FIG. 5 is a graph showing plots of current/voltage characteristics of a nanostructure joined using C.sub.70, in accordance with other example embodiments;
"FIG. 6 shows carbon nanotube films having joined carbon nanotubes, for devices in accordance with various example embodiments of the present invention;
"FIG. 7 shows an electronic device having a carbon nanotube film on an underlying substrate with a back electrode, in accordance with other example embodiments of the present invention; and
"FIG. 8 shows a solar cell, in accordance with another example embodiment of the present invention.
"While the invention is amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the intention is not to limit the invention to the particular embodiments described. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the invention including aspects defined in the claims."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: LeMieux,
Keywords for this news article include: Fullerenes, Nanomaterial, Nanostructural, Nanostructures, Nanotechnology, Carbon Nanotubes, Emerging Technologies,
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