WARF: P130386US01

Stretchable Transistors Using Carbon Nanotube Film


Michael Arnold, Feng Xu

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a simplified method of fabricating highly bendable transistors that could enable a new generation of electronics.
OVERVIEWStretchable electronics have many potential applications such as implantable biosensors, wearable devices and flexible displays. Yet critical components like transistors are still based on silicon. Efforts to utilize other semiconductor materials have met with mixed success. Carbon nanotubes are considered a strong candidate to replace or supplement silicon.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a method of fabricating stretchable transistors with buckled carbon nanotube film as the conductive channel. The new process is much simpler than existing techniques and does not involve complicated lithography.

First, a thin film of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) is applied onto the surface of an elastic substrate, then repeatedly stretched and relaxed, causing the film to buckle. Layers of electrically conducting material are then deposited to form source and drain electrodes. Finally, a stretchable material such as ion gel is deposited to form a gate dielectric between the two electrodes.
  • Transistors for high performance stretchable electronics (e.g., stretchable displays, organic LEDs)
  • New transistors can be stretched up to 50 percent without harming performance.
  • Twice the stretch of competing designs
  • Simple method requires no complicated lithography.
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe researchers have successfully fabricated highly stretchable transistors using their new method. The resulting devices exhibit an excellent on/off ratio and low operating voltage. Performance remains stable even under major tensile strain.

The development of this technology was supported by WARF Accelerator. WARF Accelerator selects WARF's most commercially promising technologies and provides expert assistance and funding to enable achievement of commercially significant milestones. WARF believes that these technologies are especially attractive opportunities for licensing.
For More Information About the Inventors
  • Xu F., Wu M.-Y., Safron N.S., Roy S.S., Jacobberger R.M., Bindl D.J., Seo J.-H., Chang T.-H., Ma Z. and Arnold M.S. 2014. Highly Stretchable Carbon Nanotube Transistors with Ion Gel Gate Dielectrics. Nano Lett. 14, 682–686.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
The WARF Advantage

Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.