Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Brewer Science & SWeNT Seek Cost-Effective Production of High-Purity, High-Quality Metallic & Semiconducting CNT Inks with $6.5 Million NIST Award

Model Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)
Brewer Science® Inc., and SouthWest NanoTechnologies, Inc (SWeNT) have received a $6.5M award under NIST's Technology Innovation Program (TIP) for a 3-year $13.9 million project to use carbon nanotube inks in fabricating microelectronic devices. 

Brewer Science, in conjunction with SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT), is developing a set of technologies for the cost-effective, commercial production of high-purity, high-quality single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) ink solutions.  The funding is in support of research and development programs that focus upon methodologies to attain the cost-effective production of high-purity, high-quality metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotube (CNT) inks. These advancements will enable production of a wide variety of high-performing electronic devices incorporating CNTs. 

After many years of research, carbon nanotubes have emerged as one of the most promising classes of 'nanomaterials'—advanced materials that exhibit unique, functional properties in nanoscale structures. In the case of single-walled carbon nanotubes, the long, cylindrical carbon macromolecules possess unique physical, electrical, optical and mechanical properties.   

These properties make them suitable for a wide array of applications including high-performance optical devices, photovoltaic cells, batteries, supercapacitors, lighting products, flexible electronic devices, sensors and high-performing specialty materials (such as high mechanical strength nanocomposites). However, a major obstacle to commercializing products from these carbon nanotube materials is the lack of affordable high-purity, high-quality single-walled carbon nanotubes.  

Conventional methods produce carbon nanotubes that are not readily suitable for enabling these high-performance applications. Brewer Science, which has a long history in commercializing high-performance materials for the semiconductor industry, has developed processes to purify, separate, disperse and manufacture metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotube ink solutions. 

Applying these processes to the raw carbon nanotubes manufactured by SWeNT yields a new generation of commercial-scale single-walled carbon nanotube inks that can be applied with a variety of deposition techniques. These conductive and semiconducting carbon nanotube inks will enable domestic leadership in a wide variety of applications, including photovoltaics, supercapacitors, solid-state lighting, energy storage, printed electronics and sensors. 

The demand shown for such a solution makes the work from this project valuable to the successful production, separation, purification, dispersion and scale-up technologies that are cost-effective and required to address the needs satisfied by these high-performance carbon nanotube inks. 

Brewer Science and SouthWest Nanotechnologies will develop technologies for the cost-effective production of high-purity, high-quality, metallic and semiconducting carbon nanotube 'inks' to enable commercial production of a wide variety of high-performing electronic devices for energy, flexible electronic and sensor applications. 

TIP supports, promotes, and accelerates innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need.

Brewer Science,® Inc., a privately held specialty chemical company founded in 1981, delivers innovative material, process, and equipment solutions for various applications including nanotechnology, lithography, advanced packaging, MEMS, optoelectronics, and compound semiconductors.

The inventor of ARC® anti-reflective coating products for the microlithography world, Brewer Science continues to expand its scope with CNTRENE™ microelectronics-grade carbon nanotube solutions, ProTEK® temporary etch protective coatings, WaferBOND® temporary bonding materials, OptiNDEX™ high-refractive index coatings, and Cee® processing equipment. Exceptional technical expertise and extensive semiconductor industry knowledge, combined with world-class product and customer support, make Brewer Science a company that consistently enhances the value of the entire electronics industry. For more information, please visit www.brewerscience.com.

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) is a privately held specialty chemical company that manufactures high-quality single-wall and specialty multi-wall carbon nanotubes for a range of products and applications. SWeNT employs its proprietary CoMoCAT® process to tailor CNT materials to meet customer performance needs, in commercial quantities. SWeNT was created in 2001 to spin off nanotube research developed at the University of Oklahoma. For more information, please visit www.swentnano.com.

Kevin Edwards, (573) 364-0300
Brewer Science, Inc. (Rolla, MO)
Southwest Nanotechnologies, Inc. (Norman , OK)
TIP Project Manager
Purabi Mazumdar, (301) 975-4891

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