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Nanostructures enable new coating properties

New thesis presents research on material properties ripe for commercialization.

Nanotechnology cuts across many fields but common to all is the control of matter on a scale smaller than one micrometer.

One of the currently most interesting nanoengineering materials is composed of the three elements titan, silicon and carbon, Ti-Si-C. Per Eklund, researcher working in the field of thin film science has investigated the advantages of Ti-Si-C in nanostructured surface coatings.

Gas sensors, electronics able to withstand ultra-high temperatures, fuel cells, and power transmission are just a few of the engineering areas for which Ti-Si-C surfacing opens new possibilities. The material, marketed under the name Maxfas, already has a commercial outlet through Impact Coatings, a company that is a spin-off from LiU research.

One of several promising applications of the titan-silicon-carbon composition is the replacement of gold in electric contacts. Gold is an excellent conductor that does not corrode. But it is soft and easily wears down, as many cell phone users have noted when annoyed by a loose contact. Moreover, gold is expensive and its refinement requires environment-unfriendly chemicals.

The nanostructure of Ti-Si-C provides a unique combination of highly desirable properties: good conductivity, resilience, robustness and corrosion resistance.

On April 20, Per Eklund successfully defended his doctoral thesis titled Multifunctional nanostructured Ti-Si-C thin films.


2007-08-13




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Last updated: 2009-06-03