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Cheaper Touchscreens Made Of Carbon

Scientists from Fraunhofer are displaying a slightly modified touchscreen device at the Nano Tech 2011 tradeshow in Tokyo, which eliminate the tiny indium-tin-oxide (ITO) electrodes in screens and replaces them with electrodes that use carbon nanotubes and polymers as base materials. Indium is a so-called strategic metal, as it is a relatively rare resource that can only be found in a few places around the globe and is exposed to potentially strong price variations.

According to Fraunhofer, the new electrode consists of two layers: The first is the carrier, a thin foil made of inexpensive polyethylenterephthalate PET also used in plastic bottles. The second is a mixture of carbon-nanotubes and electrically conducting polymers, which is applied as a solution, but forms to a thin film when it dries. Similar approaches have been tested in the past, but were abandoned as such layers were not as durable as ITO and simply fractured under temperature stress. Fraunhofer said that carbon nanotubes make the electrode layers much more stable.

There was no information when this technology could be commercially available.