Researchers at Yokohama National University and the University of Electrocommunications in Japan have developed a very efficient technique to produce a single fullerene crystal, called a fullerene finned micropillar (FFMP), which is of a great utility for new generation electronics.
Fullerene is a popular choice for technology development not only because of its small size, but it is also very durable and contains semiconductor properties, making it a good candidate in devices such as effect transistors. field, solar cells, superconducting materials and chemical sensors. The material is currently in use, however, it is difficult to handle as fullerene is a nanoscale and usually occurs in a powder state. To solve this problem, one-dimensional fullerene crystals are produced and used.
“The production of one-dimensional fullerene crystals requires expert skills and takes several days with typical production methods. In this study, we succeeded in developing a very simple manufacturing method using an annealing process,” said Dr. Takahide Oya, associate professor at Yokohama National University and corresponding author of the study.
In an article published in Scientific reports in November 2020 (DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-020-76252-6), the team details how they used a small heater that accepted fullerene and heated it to a temperature of 1,173 Kelvin for about a time. The fullerene originally deposited in the heater decrystallizes under the effect of heat and subsequently recrystallizes when the temperature is lowered. This overall process, known as annealing, is more than fifty times faster than the old technique of producing fullerene crystals.
“Using our method, the mass production of one-dimensional fullerene crystals can be produced in an hour. The fullerene crystals produced which we named ‘fullerene finned micropillar (FFMP)’ have a distinctive structure,” Oya said. .
The team is also confident that fullerene crystals produced in this new, more efficient production process will have similar qualities to fullerene crystals such as fullerene nanowhiskers produced using older methods.
“The FFMP is expected to have electrical conductivity and n-type semiconductor functionality,” Oya said.
Further tests are needed to confirm that the FFMP does retain the qualities so useful for electronic implementation, but positive results could mean solar cells with much higher efficiency, extremely small circuits integrated into flexible devices by example.
The team has already looked at this annealing under different environmental conditions, temperatures and heating times. After studying the process, the team now aims to characterize the FFMP as part of an electrical component. “The next step in this study is to confirm and obtain the electrical conductivity and functionality of n-type semiconductors, because ordinary fullerene has such properties. process is also expected. We believe that FFMP (or FFNP) will be useful for field effect transistors, organic photovoltaics, etc. in the near future, ”Oya said.
This won’t be the first time that Oya and his team have tackled special small-scale materials for use in electronics.
“We once had a technique for making carbon nanotubes, or CNTs – a one-dimensional nano-carbon material – composite papers and CNT composite yarns / textiles as unique CNT composite materials,” Oya said. “Therefore, we will develop FFMP composite materials and their applications. We believe that useful FFMP composites (and the combination with CNT composites) will be used in our daily life in the near future. “
Yokohama National University (YNU or Yokokoku) is a Japanese national university founded in 1949. YNU provides students with hands-on training utilizing the vast expertise of its faculty and facilitates engagement with the global community. YNU’s strength in academic research of practical application sciences leads to high impact publications and contributes to international scientific research and global society. For more information, please see: https://www.ynu.ac.jp/english/
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