Carbon Nanomaterial Manufacturing Platforms for Interactive Surfaces and Smart Prosthetics

PI: A. John Hart, Xuanhe Zhao, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
PI: Albert Nasibulin, Center for Photonics and Quantum Materials, Skoltech

Prof. Albert Nasibulin, Prof. John Hart, and Prof. Xuanhe Zhao propose a research and education partnership focusing on scalable manufacturing of carbon nanomaterials for various electronic applications. Specifically, Nasibulin and Hart wish to develop a shared platform for the science and engineering of tailored carbon nanomaterials and creation of their hybrid structures, enabling atomic‐level control of key characteristics of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene such as diameter, conductivity, doping level, and chemical functionality. These characteristics will, in turn, be tailored to realize breakthrough printed flexible and stretchable future electronic components for strain sensors, actuators, and transparent electrodes through scalable printing techniques including dry transfer, inkjet printing, and 3D extrusion and stereolithography. The printing techniques will be developed across our team in pursuit of two visions: flexible sensing ‘stickers’ using patterned carbon nanomaterials, that can be applied to virtually any surface; and a smart prosthetic device printed from carbon nanocomposite and augmented with a surface film for sensing tactile forces and converting to electrical signals. The unified expertise of the researchers in materials, aerosol science, mechanical design, manufacturing, chemistry, and device fabrication, will enable them to create new reactors for tailored nanomaterial synthesis and to hybridize the nanomaterials into a platform linking the synthesis and fabrication to properties. The faculty, graduate students, and researchers will make extended visits to the partner institution to further collaborate and build new partnerships, to create and develop the connections with industry and to establish start‐up companies at MIT and Skoltech. The team will also propose joint courses on nanomaterials and additive manufacturing, leveraging the complementary education activities of Nasibulin and Hart, and the digital framework of the edX/MITx platform.

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