Spray-On Antennas Could Be the Tech Connector of the Future

 The promise of wearables, functional fabrics, the Internet of Things, and their “next-generation” technological cohort seems tantalizingly within reach. But researchers in the field will tell you a prime reason for their delayed “arrival” is the problem of seamlessly integrating connection technology — namely, antennas — with shape-shifting and flexible “things.”

But a breakthrough by researchers in Drexel’s College of Engineering, could now make installing an antenna as easy as applying some bug spray.

In research recently published in Science Advances, the group reports on a method for spraying invisibly thin antennas, made from a type of two-dimensional, metallic material called MXene, that perform as well as those being used in mobile devices, wireless routers and portable transducers.MXene spray antenna. The ultra-thin, flexible antennas can be applied to nearly any surface using an airbrush

“This is a very exciting finding because there is a lot of potential for this type of technology,” said Kapil Dandekar, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering, who directs the Drexel Wireless Systems Lab, and was a co-author of the research. “The ability to spray an antenna on a flexible substrate or make it optically transparent means that we could have a lot of new places to set up networks — there are new applications and new ways of collecting data that we can’t even imagine at the moment.”

Spray-applied MXene antennas could open the door for new applications in smart technology, wearables and IoT devices.
The researchers, from the College’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, report that the MXene titanium carbide can be dissolved in water to create an ink or paint. The exceptional conductivity of the material enables it to transmit and direct radio waves, even when it’s applied in a very thin coating.

“We found that even transparent antennas with thicknesses of tens of nanometers were able to communicate efficiently,” said Asia Sarycheva, a doctoral candidate in the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute and Materials Science and Engineering Department. “By increasing the thickness up to 8 microns, the performance of MXene antenna achieved 98 percent of its predicted maximum value.”

Preserving transmission quality in a form this thin is significant because it would allow antennas to easily be embedded — literally, sprayed on — in a wide variety of objects and surfaces without adding additional weight or circuitry or requiring a certain level of rigidity.

Spray-applied MXene antenna

Researchers in the College of Engineering developed and tested spray-applied antennas made from a type of two-dimensional material called MXene.

“This technology could enable the truly seamless integration of antennas with everyday objects which will be critical for the emerging Internet of Things,” Dandekar said. “Researchers have done a lot of work with non-traditional materials trying to figure out where manufacturing technology meets system needs, but this technology could make it a lot easier to answer some of the difficult questions we’ve been working on for years.”

Initial testing of the sprayed antennas suggest that they can perform with the same range of quality as current antennas, which are made from familiar metals, like gold, silver, copper and aluminum, but are much thicker than MXene antennas. Making antennas smaller and lighter has long been a goal of materials scientists and electrical engineers, so this discovery is a sizable step forward both in terms of reducing their footprint as well as broadening their application.

“Current fabrication methods of metals cannot make antennas thin enough and applicable to any surface, in spite of decades of research and development to improve the performance of metal antennas,” said Yury Gogotsi, PhD, Distinguished University and Bach professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering, and Director of the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute, who initiated and led the project. “We were looking for two-dimensional nanomaterials, which have sheet thickness about hundred thousand times thinner than a human hair; just a few atoms across, and can self-assemble into conductive films upon deposition on any surface. Therefore, we selected MXene, which is a two-dimensional titanium carbide material, that is stronger than metals and is metallically conductive, as a candidate for ultra-thin antennas.”

Invisibly thin MXene antennas can be applied to a variety of substrates and perform better than antenna materials currently used in mobile devices.Drexel researchers discovered the family of MXene materials in 2011 and have been gaining an understanding of their properties, and considering their possible applications, ever since. The layered two-dimensional material, which is made by wet chemical processing, has already shown potential in energy storage devices, electromagnetic shielding, water filtration, chemical sensing, structural reinforcement and gas separation.

Naturally MXene materials have drawn comparisons to promising two-dimensional materials like graphene, which won the Nobel Prize in 2010 and has been explored as a material for printable antennas. In the paper, the Drexel researchers put the spray-on antennas up against a variety of antennas made from these new materials, including graphene, silver ink and carbon nanotubes. The MXene antennas were 50 times better than graphene and 300 times better than silver ink antennas in terms of preserving the quality of radio wave transmission.

“The MXene antenna not only outperformed the macro and micro world of metal antennas, we went beyond the performance of available nanomaterial antennas, while keeping the antenna thickness very low,” said Babak Anasori, PhD, a research assistant professor in A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute. “The thinnest antenna was as thin as 62 nanometers — about thousand times thinner than a sheep of paper — and it was almost transparent. Unlike other nanomaterials fabrication methods, that requires additives, called binders, and extra steps of heating to sinter the nanoparticles together, we made antennas in a single step by airbrush spraying our water-based MXene ink.”

The group initially tested the spray-on application of the antenna ink on a rough substrate — cellulose paper — and a smooth one — polyethylene terephthalate sheets — the next step for their work will be looking at the best ways to apply it to a wide variety of surfaces from glass to yarn and skin.

“Further research on using materials from the MXene family in wireless communication may enable fully transparent electronics and greatly improved wearable devices that will support the active lifestyles we are living,” Anasori said.

 Source: https://drexel.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News from MRC.ORG.UA

ADVANCED SCIENCE NEWS: Yury Gogotsi was a chemist from the very beginning. He feels the excitement of scientific discovery, and cannot imagine doing anything else

Professor Yury Gogotsi, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA

Yury Gogotsi was a chemist from the very beginning. He feels the excitement of scientific discovery, and cannot imagine doing anything else. It was love at first sight for Yury Gogotsi. 

Gogotsi feels that the greatest recent step in the field of materials science was the discovery of new 2D materials, the “building blocks of the future”. He is very enthusiastic about the use of nanotechnology to generate “new artificial materials, structures and devices from nanoscale building blocks” and the increased application of “modeling, simulation, and machine learning for solving materials science problems”, though he admits concern regarding the unknown effects that artificial intelligence will have on our future lives. He is also conscious of the energy required for computation and the importance of exploiting renewable resources to develop new technologies – ones that reduce energy consumption. “We need revolutionary discoveries here,” he says. “Evolutionary development won’t be enough.”

 
Horizon 2020 NANO2DAY project participants from the Materials Research Center (MRC), Kiev, Ukraine, Alexey Gogotsi and Veronika Zahorodna visited the partner organization Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA, on September-October 2018

alt

NANO2DAY project participants from the Materials Research Center (MRC), Kiev, Ukraine, Alexey Gogotsi (MRC project leader) and Veronika Zahorodna (early-staged researcher, in the framework of international scientific cooperation on the Horizon 2020 program, visited the partner organization Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA, on September-October 2018 in accordance with the travel plan on the project to perform planned project activities.

 
MRC director Oleksiy Gogotsi at the work meeting in Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA, made a presentation of the company and its activitties in international r&d projects

altDirector of Materials Research Centre (Kiev, Ukraine) Oleksiy Gogotsi  at the work meeting in Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA, made a  presentation of the company and its activitties in international research and development projects. Also Oleksiy Gogotsi presented HORIZON 2020 MSCA RISE Project №777810 NANO2DAY: MULTIFUNCTIONAL POLYMER COMPOSITES DOPED WITH NOVEL 2D NANOPARTICLES FOR ADVANCED APPLICATIONS.

 
Seminar on 2D Materials Beyond Graphene by prof. Zdenek Sofer University of Chemistry and Technology (Prague) at Drexel University, USA, on October 18, 2018

altDuring NANO2DAY project visit  to Drexel University (Philadelphia, USA), director of Materials Research Centre (kiev, Ukraine) Oleksiy Gogotsi met with Assoc. Prof. Zdeněk Sofer from University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (Chech Republic) and attended his seminar on nanomaterials. Prof. Zdenek Sofer in Drexel University gave an excellent seminar on 2D Materials Beyond Graphene.

 
NANO2DAY project: research scientist Maksym Plakhothyuk, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), visited Ukrainian partner Materials Research Centre, Kiev, Ukraine on September-November 2018

NANO2DAY project Maksym Plakhotnyuk, DTU visited MRC, November 2018Due to the NANO2DAY project under european scientific  research program HORIZON 2020 research scientist  Maksym Plakhothyuk, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), visited Ukrainian partner Materials Research Centre, Kiev, Ukraine on September-November 2018. 

 
Congratulations to Professor Yury Gogotsi who received prestigious Chineese Government Friendship Award, Beijing, Great Hall of the People, September 29, 2018

Yury Gogotsi recevide Friendship Award from Chinas GovernmentChina"s Government Friendship Award ceremony was held in Great Hall of the People, in Beijing on September 29, 2018, the award to the winners were presented by the Vice Premier of China Liu He. The People's Republic of China Government Friendship Award is China's highest award for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to the country's economic and social progress.

 
Spray-On Antennas Could Be the Tech Connector of the Future

Invisibly thin MXene antennas can be applied to a variety of substrates and perform better than antenna materials currently used in mobile devices.

Now, researchers at Drexel University have developed a method for creating nearly invisible antennas on almost any surface by literally spraying them on like paint. The antennas are made from a special two-dimensional metallic material called MXene. MXene powder can be dissolved in water to create a paint that is then airbrushed on. In tests, even a layer as thin as just 62 nanometers – thousands of times thinner than a sheet of paper – could communicate effectively. Performance maxed out at just 8 microns, a point at which the spray-on antennas worked just as well as those currently used in mobile devices and wireless routers.

 
Congratulations to professor Yury Gogotsi, professor Rodney S. Ruoff and professor Patrice Simon with being named by Clarivate Analythics among of the 17 most cited and influenced world-class scientists in 2018!

Professor Yury GogotsiThis designation celebrates researchers whose influence is comparable to that of Nobel Prize recipients, as attested by exceptionally high citation records within the Web of Science. 

 
15th YES Annual Meeting: “The Next Generation of Everything” September 13 – 15, 2018

alt

Yalta European Strategy (YES)  introduced nightcap events for the participants of the 15th YES Annual Meeting to wind down at the end of the first conference day and discuss interesting topics in an informal atmosphere. YES invited leading politicians, opinion makers and business leaders to present their views on modern trends that define the world and Ukraine. The nightcaps were organized in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and America House, International Renaissance Foundation, Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter and the Atlantic Council, Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine, Western NIS Enterprise Fund and Embassy of the Republic of Estonia.

 
2018 IEEE 8th International Conference on Nanomaterials: Applications & Properties, September 09-14, 2018

2018 IEEE International Conference on “Nanomaterials Applications & Properties”At the poster session of the conference Oleksiy Gogotsi presented two poster presentations on advanced nanomaterials for different applications, prepared with colleagues from Drexel University, USA, and Jilin University, China

 
NANO2DAY project participants Oleksiy Gogotsi and Veronika Zahorodna visited Polymer Institute SAS, Bratislava, Slovakia, July-September 2018

altNANO2DAY project participants from Materials Research Centre, Kiev, Ukraine, MRC director and project leader Oleksiy Gogotsi and ESR Veronika Zahorodna are working in Polymer Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia under the project secondments plan.

 
NANO2DAY project: Professor Maria Omastova, Polymenr Institue Slovak Academy of Science, visited Materials Research Centre, Kiev, Ukraine, July-August 2018

Professor Maria Omastova, Polymer Institute SAV, Bratislava, Slovakia, and Oleksiy Gogotsi, director of Materials Research Centre, Kiev, Ukraine,  July 2018Professor Omastova was acquainted with the activities and research infrastructure of MRC project partner, she held several seminars on polymer composites and talked about the experience and developments of her institute. 

 
The 6th International Conference on Novel Functional Carbon Nanomaterials at the 8th Forum on New Materials (CIMTEC 2018) in Perugia, Italy, June 11-14

Фото Yury Gogotsi.The 6th International Conference “Novel Functional Carbon Nanomaterials”within the 8th Forum on New Materials at CIMTEC 2018 held in Perugia, Italy,  highlighted recent achievements and challenges in the synthesis, structural control and modeling at the meso- and nano-scales of the variety of low-dimensional carbon allotropes including nanodiamonds, diamond-like carbon, fullerenes, nanotubes, graphene and graphene-related structures, as well as high surface area carbon networks, which are promising for a range of emerging applications in energy conversion and storage, water purification, high-speed nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, photonics, quantum information processing, quantum computing, biosensing, drug delivery, medical imaging, thermal management, catalysis, lubrication, etc.

 
1st International Conference on MXenes at Jilin University, Changchun, China

MXene conference 2018The meeting is the first international conference focusing on MXene materals, which is to bring scientists in the two-dimensional materials or energy area to interact and discuss the advances and challenges in various fields.

 
Our Congratulations to Prof. Gogotsi with Receiving an Honorary Doctorate from Kyiv Polytechnic Institute KPIthe National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute"

 Prof. Yury Gogotsi received an honorary doctorate from the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic InstituteOn May 14th, 2018, Prof. Yury Gogotsi received an honorary doctorate from the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (NTUU “KPI”), Kiev, Ukraine.