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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

NCL’s cost-effective tech may find wider use in flexible electronics, digital display boards

NCL has licensed the process technology to an Ahmedabad-based start-up and scientists there are developing newer applications and also producing this high-value material.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
November 4, 2021 1:00:32 am
This technology happens to be the first-ever large scale continuous process for synthesizing a functional nanomaterial (in this case, silver nanowires) efficiently and with top quality.

At least five Indian companies will make use of silver nanowire coatings on commonly-used flexible electronic devices.

The indigenous and cost-effective technology to produce this high-value material has been developed by a team of researchers at Pune’s CSIR – National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) under the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

NCL has licensed the process technology to an Ahmedabad-based start-up and scientists there are developing newer applications and also producing this high-value material.

“We are in talks with two Indian companies for application development. CSIR – NCL has already signed the Materials Transfer agreement with three companies,” said Amol Kulkarni, NCL scientist, who led the team at the Chemical Engineering and Process Development division.

This material finds most common application among conducting inks for printing on rigid and flexible surfaces, as fillers in polymeric composites, printed circuits in display devices, current collector paste in solar cells, electronic wearables, infrared shielding and in flexible electronic goods.

It is technologically challenging to synthesize uni-dimensional nanomaterials including nanotubes and nanowires. Thereafter, their bulk manufacturing involves huge investments. Thus, development of such a indigenous technology is not only timely but has reduced the overall cost by a factor of at least ten. The international market price of manufacturing silver nanowire can range between US$250 – 400/gram whereas the NCL-technology makes the same possible at US$20/gram. depending on the scale of manufacturing.

This technology happens to be the first-ever large scale continuous process for synthesizing a functional nanomaterial (in this case, silver nanowires) efficiently and with top quality. This technology can enable Indian industries to enter niché areas of manufacturing high-value electronic chemicals and eventually open newer job opportunities.

“This is one of the high-value chemicals needed in the electronics industry. In addition to scientific and government efforts, the industry will have a vital role to play in up-scaling the manufacturing,” added Kulkarni, who was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 2020.

Presently, his team is working on devising even thinner nanowires and they have been testing performance for specific applications by impregnating the nanowires onto newer surfaces and materials for developing new applications that need transparent conducting coatings.

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