Nano-C’s SWCNT and Fullerene Derivatives are being applied in a wide variety of printable sensors. Target markets include automotive, medical, consumer and a wide variety of industrial applications including wearable technologies and sensors that fall under umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). Sensors range from generic temperature and humidity sensors to ones designed specifically to monitor perishable food items or for explosives.
SWCNT-based chemi-resistive sensors are particularly attractive in that they can be designed to target a specific chemical. These chemi-resistive sensors are fabricated from SWCNT based resistive networks after chemically modifying the SWCNTs with molecular receptors that selectively interact with target compounds (say ammonia for monitoring spoilage, humidity, ethylene for monitoring fruit ripeness or specific chemistries targeted particular types of explosives.) The low power requirement in these systems enables them to be both powered and read by the near field communication protocols that are now a standard part of mobile phone infrastructure. SWCNT based humidity sensors are at a mature stage of commercialization by one of Nano-C’s potential customers.
SWCNT-based infrared sensors are in development by Nano-C in collaboration with a US Army research lab and a DoD contractor is for thermal imaging. Applications include defense, use by first responders, night vision for automobiles and medical imaging. These sensors are based on a bolometric response from a SWCNT network.
Both the resistive and optical sensors benefit from the unique optoelectronic characteristics of a predominantly semiconducting carbon nanotube network. Nano-C in collaboration with MIT has developed a scalable and cost effective technology for the separation of SWCNT by type. Nano-C has licensed this technology from MIT on an exclusive basis. Nano-C combines this with its own proven and patent pending technology to formulate the separated tubes into water-based and solvent-based systems makes its capabilities unique in sensors.
Organic Photo-detectors (OPD) are Fullerene Derivative based light-sensing devices that can be used in applications that range from motion control to medical imaging. Like Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) devices, OPD can be thin, light-weight, flexible, printable, and low-cost. Conventional detectors are typically made from silicon-based semi-conductors, and therefore use vacuum deposition processes typically at elevated temperatures. In contrast, OPD’s manufacturing processes are based on low-temperature, atmospheric and solution-based printing on glass or plastic substrates. Developers of OPD include ISORG, NikkoIA SAS and Siemens along with research institutes such as IMEC among others. In addition, companies such as GE and Universal Displays are working to integrate these types of detectors into their devices. OPD deployed in modern X-ray systems offer the potential to reduce the dose received by the patient, a lighter more form-fitting sensor at a lower cost.
Nano-C is a recognized world-class supplier and developer of Fullerene Derivatives for OPD (and OPV). It has partnered with Merck Chemical to develop molecules that uniquely address the needs and requirements for OPD and OPV. Nano-C provides the most efficient n-type electron acceptors for OPD, through its unique ability to modify electronic properties by surface functionalization leading to increased device lifetime and performance with cost effective chemistries.