Sicily-based technologies research institute ITA has placed an order for Surrey NanoSystems’ carbon nanotube growth tool, and signed an agreement with the tool provider to share intellectual property.
ITA plans to use the equipment to research carbon nanotube-based nanocomposites and mechanical sensors for medical and aerospace applications. The Trapani-based institution chose the tool for its ability to repeatedly grow defined carbon nanotube configurations and materials at low temperatures. It is expected to be delivered in August 2007.
In addition to the NanoGrowth tool’s core CVD (chemical vapour deposition) and PECVD (plasma-enhanced CVD) nanomaterial growth capabilities, Surrey NanoSystems will fit modules for catalyst delivery, ion etching and thin-film deposition. Overall, these tools will allow ITA to create single and multi-walled nanotube structures and silicon nanowires, as well as to, etch and deposit silicon.
Dr Giulia Lanzara, carbon nanotube researcher at ITA, worked with Surrey NanoSystems to design the specific tool required by the institution.
‘I’ve had a lot of experience growing carbon nanotubes using a horizontal quartz tube furnace. For ITA’s forthcoming research projects into nanocomposites and mechanical sensors we need to be able to repeatedly grow specific nanotube configurations. The architecture of this tool has been specifically designed to produce repeatable results.’
As part of the three-year development partnership, Surrey NanoSystems is developing processing templates to support the fabrication of carbon nanotube and silicon nanowire structures for the commercial manufacture of semiconductor devices and related electronics applications. ITA will be responsible for beta testing before the product launch.