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Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, 2006/10/16 - The use of a conductive nanocoating on wood fibers can open the door for the future development of smart paper technology, applied as sensors, communication devices, electromagnetic shields, and paper-based displays.
Paper manufacturing is one of the mainstays of economic infrastructure and paper products influence many aspects of business and personal life. Pulping, process chemistry, paper coating, and recycling are key areas that can benefit from nanotechnology methods. One such method, layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly, is of great interest of its usage in the field of nanocoating. It allows creating nanometer-sized ultrathin films both on large surfaces and on microfibers and cores with the desired composition. Researchers at Louisiana Tech University have developed a simple and cost effective technique to fabricate an electrically conductive paper by applying layer-by-layer nanoassembly coating directly on wood microfibers during paper making process. Nanocoated wood microfibers and paper may be applied to make electronic devices, such as capacitors, inductors, and transistors fabricated on cost-effective lignocellulose pulp. The use of a conductive nanocoating on wood fibers can open the door for the future development of smart paper technology, applied as sensors, communication devices, electromagnetic shields, and paper-based displays.
Dr. Mangilal Agarwal, Dr. Yuri Lvov and Dr. Kody Varahramyan reported their novel process in a paper, titled "Conductive wood microfibers for smart paper through layer-by-layer nanocoating", that was published in the October 6, 2006 online edition of Nanotechnology.
Agarwal, who is a researcher at the Institute for Micromanufacturing at Louisiana Tech, explains the new process to Nanowerk: "In this work we have demonstrated successful scale integration from nano to micro and macroscale (nanocoating - microfibers - macropaper) in developing new paper material. The conductive paper that has been produced (and its fabrication method) can be used for the development of smart paper technology or functional textiles."
The researchers used an aqueous dispersion of anionic poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) – poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT–PSS) and poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) and poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI) as their cationic polyelectrolytes for LbL assembly. By creating organized multilayers of these polyelectrolytes on a surface of wood microfibers, they have produced a nanocoating that enables the microfibers to exhibit moderate electrical conductivity, which was increased by increasing the number of conductive polymer layers in the coating. Subsequently, they used these fibers for the production of handsheets that have a measurable electrical conductivity.
Read the full article on the Nanowerk website.
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By Michael Berger, Copyright 2006 Nanowerk, LLC