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Conductive nanocoating on textiles

Researchers at North Carolina State University have made a conductive nanocoating on simple textiles like woven cotton or even a sheet of paper.


Conductive nanocoatings are applied to inorganic materials like silicon but when applied to textiles, cheap, cost-effective and flexible materials with controlled surface texture can be obtained for making various types of electronic devices. Using a technique called atomic layer deposition, coatings of inorganic materials, typically used in devices such as solar cells, sensors and microelectronics, were grown on the surface of textiles like woven cotton and nonwoven polypropylene. The research shows that common textile materials can be used for complex electronic devices.


The researchers created a procedure to quantify effective electrical conductivity of conductive coatings on textile materials. The current standard of measuring conductivity uses a four-point probe that applies a current between two probes and senses a voltage between the other two probes. However, these probes can not give accurate results for measurements on textiles. The researchers used a technique using larger probes that accurately measures the conductivity of the nanocoating.


This research has potential in health and monitoring applications with cloth sensors embedded in the actual material that could track heart rate, body temperature, movement and more in real time.

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