Nanotechnology used to produce cotton transistors clothing
03 January 2012
Posted by Satvir Bhullar
Clothing that can conduct electricity could be closer to becoming a reality as a result of a new development announced by nanoscience specialists.
Experts from Cornell University have used nanotechnology to create cotton that is woven with transistors and could collect, monitor and relay data relating to a range of subjects.
Potential applications for garments or carpets using the fabric could include monitoring pollutants for firefighters, determining whether or not someone is unwell, displaying information or providing details of humidity.
The institution's Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory has worked with experts from Italy's University of Cagliari to create transistors that are made from cotton fibres where each strand is coated with gold nanoparticles and the conductive polymer PEDOT.
"If you think about how many fibres you have in your T-shirt and how many interconnections you have between the weft and the warp of the fabric, you could get pretty decent computing power," stated Director of the Cornell lab, Juan Hinestroza.
In related news, two scientists have been included in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for 2012 for their contribution towards the field of nanotechnology.
Graphene pioneers Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov have been selected for knighthoods for their services to science in creating graphene.
The physicists, who have also been awarded the physics Nobel Prize for their work in 2010, are both Russian and based at the University of Manchester.
Just an atom thick, graphene is created from a flat sheet of carbon and has been found to be stronger than steel, an effective electrical conductor and an unparalleled conductor of heat.
A landmark paper on graphene was published by the scientists in October 2004. It is the thinnest material in the world and is particularly flexible and stable.
As a result of its outstanding properties, Chancellor George Osborne announced last year the Government is allocating £50 million to further its development and commercialization.