Abstract

This study demonstrates carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced conductors for flexible electronics. The supreme mechanical strength of the CNT is toughened by the structure of the metal conductor. Conventional metal lines, fabricated using a screen printing technique on flexible substrates, usually suffer a great deal of stress when bending plastic substrates. These stress-strain educed micro-fractures in the metal line reduce the reliability of the electronic system. We fabricated a durable conductor, integrating CNTs into the conventional metallization process. It was found that the CNT–silver composite can be screen-printed on flexible substrates and the durability of the resulting conduction was enhanced. Compared to CNT-polymer-based materials, the CNT–silver composite exhibited higher conductivities of $10 ^{4} ~{\hbox{S}}/{\hbox{cm}}$. These results show that such an approach offers a promising of enhancing the reliability of flexible electronic systems by utilizing reinforced CNTs in the metallization process.

© 2009 IEEE

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