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Inductively coupled plasma source for carbon nanotube growth

Carbon nanotubes were successfully synthesised with a ± 29 % thickness uniformity over an 8” substrate using a rescaled ICP reactor. Deposition rates of the order of 1 A/s were obtained at a gas composition, RF power, process pressure, and substrate temperature and bias voltage of 33 % C2H2 in NH3, 300 W, 1 mbar, 500oC and –100 V respectively. The predicted plasma conditions necessary for the production of aligned carbon nanotubes also correlated well with those obtained experimentally.

The large area nanotube deposition system is not yet at a “ready product” level. Indeed further work will be required to achieve this goal. However, significant advances with respect to both equipment and process scale up in the 10-2 to 1 mbar pressure regime have been made in the context of this project. This information has recently allowed CCR Technology to expand and develop its range of inductively coupled plasma sources.

CCR currently has patents pending on its ICP source technology. However together with appropriate partners within the CARDECOM consortium CCR will seek to evaluate the potential of submitting process patents associated with its scalable ICP source technology within the area of large area carbon nanotube and nanofibre deposition. This will be necessary if CCR is to be able to license its technology in order to fully commercialise the results of the CARDECOM project.

The work conducted in the context of the CARDECOM project will permit CCR, within the next 6 months, to market and sell a unique scalable source technology with direct application to carbon nanotube deposition. The level of reliability data, process data and engineering detail required to be an effective player in this market will have principally come from CCR’s participation in the CARDECOM project.

We expect the following economic benefits following participation in this project:
- new markets for sources & hence additional sales of
5 sources per year at 30 k€ per source (150 k€);
- new markets for systems & hence additional sales of 2 small systems per year at 165 k€ per system (330 k€);increased visibility and business in nanotechnology and related fields;
- increase in yearly turnover of approximately 480 k€ for the three years following the optimisation of the current nanotube deposition system.

The nanotube reactor developed for the CARDECOM project will be used as a demonstration tool for the deposition of carbon nanotubes and nanofibres. Such demonstration facilities will be necessary in order to fully commercialise this technology.

With respect to information dissemination, CCR Technology will prepare both journal papers and marketing documents regarding the scaling of both the technology and the process. Reference will be given to both the European Union for financial support and for other key partners involved directly in both the basic research and commercialisation aspects of this project. Further information will be posted on the CCR web site.

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