Researchers at Purdue University designed a new process for coating copper nanowires with graphene, that lowers resistance and heating. This process may suggest potential applications in computer chips and flexible displays, as copper nanowires are essential for efficient data transfer and heat conduction in such applications.
The researchers developed a technique for encapsulating the wires with graphene, which was shown to create hybrid wires that are capable of 15% faster data transmission while lowering peak temperature by 27% compared with uncoated copper nanowires. The graphene coating prevents the copper wires from oxidizing, preserving low resistance and reducing the amount of heating.
It has been difficult until now to coat copper nanowires with graphene since the process requires CVD at extreme temperatures, which degrades copper thin films and small-dimension wires. The researchers came up with a new process that can be performed at about 650 degrees Celsius (compared to the 1,000 degrees requires before), preserving the small wires intact, using a procedure called plasma-enhanced CVD. Wires were tested in two width sizes: 180 nanometers - or more than 500 times thinner than a human hair - and 280 nanometers.