Canatu Ltd (Finland) has been in the news recently after receiving an investment of €4.7 M to fund its production development. I was particularly interested to see whether they had been granted any patents from their portfolio of applications on carbon nanotubes and what new applications have emerged.
Background on Canatu:
Founded in 2004, Canatu is a spin-off from the Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University). Canatu’s business is the production and sales of a new class of versatile nanomaterial based films and components.
Canatu has developed a novel form of carbon, namely NanoBuds™, and a new way to directly produce high value components on any substrate from this material by Direct Dry Printing™. These components improve the performance and reduce the cost of optical and electrical devices and diminish their environmental footprint. Canatu is currently developing its flexible thin film NanoBud™ components and production processes to supply display, touch, photovoltaic, tracking and haptic customers in the optics, energy and electronics sectors.
The NanoBud™ technology (a molecule having a fullerene molecule covalently bonded to the side of a carbon nanotube) is described in the granted patent EP1948562B1.
Claim 1. A fullerene functionalized carbon nanotube, comprising one or more fullerenes and/or fullerene based molecules bonded to the carbon nanotube, characterised in that the bond between said fullerenes and/or fullerene based molecules and said carbon nanotube is covalent and is formed on the outer surface wall and/or inner surface wall of said carbon nanotube.
Further details are claimed around the size of the fullerene and how it is covalently bonded. The CNT can be a single, double or multi-walled nanotube and can be formulated as a solid, liquid, gas or paste, deposited or synthesized on a surface.
There is also claimed a method for its manufacture:
Claim 9. A method for producing at least one fullerene functionalized carbon nanotube comprising at least one fullerene and/or a fullerene based molecule covalently bonded to the outer surface and/or inner surface of said at least one carbon nanotube,characterised in that the method comprises: providing at least one catalyst particle to a reactor heated to between 250 and 2500 °C; providing a gas flow to said reactor wherein the gas comprises at least one carbon source; providing at least two reagents including CO2 and H2O, or precursors thereof to obtain the concentration of H2O between 45 and 245 ppm and the concentration of CO2 between 2000 and 6000 ppm. releasing carbon from the carbon source into or onto one or more catalyst particles in the presence of the reagents; and collecting said at least one fullerene functionalized carbon nanotube comprising at least one fullerene and/or a fullerene based molecule covalently bonded to a wall of said at least one carbon nanotube.
The additional method claims include details around the catalyst (very broad) and the reagents (can be an etching agent) and the carbon source. Finally the last three claims relate to the way the material is used to create a functional device.
21. A functional material, wherein the function of the material is at least one of field emission, light emission, electric conduction, thermal conduction, fuel cell, battery, metal-matrix composite, polymer-matrix composite, capacitor, electrode, transistor, diode, drug molecule carrier characterised in that it comprises at least one fullerene functionalized carbon nanotube according to any one of claims 1 to 8.
22. A thick or thin film, a line, a wire or a layered or three dimensional structure, characterised in that it comprises one or more fullerene functionalized carbon nanotubes according to any one of claims 1 to 8.
23. Using one or more fullerene functionalized carbon nanotubes in accordance to any one of claims 1 to 8 in preparation of a device.