Smart surfaces, flexible touch panels, conformable transparent antennas, electrochemical sensors, and transparent heaters are just a few of the solutions powered by CHASM's advanced materials. Each of these solutions demands a different application of the company's materials and capabilities.
The advent of the smartphone brought with it an expectation that all human-machine interfaces will function similarly. Electromechanical switches are being replaced with touch buttons, dials with sliders, and control panels with touch screens. The advantages to this evolution extend beyond the dramatic improvement in usability. They include weight reduction, lower power requirements, improved use of space, and more. To achieve these benefits, however, requires a new generation of materials, particularly new transparent conductive films that are flexible, formable, and can be produced at lower cost.
The increasing use of connected devices is resulting in an exponential growth in the RF energy surrounding us. While research confirming or refuting the danger of this barrage of energy has been less than conclusive, most people agree that less is better than more. Solutions being deployed by both the aftermarket and OEM device makers are redirecting this RF energy away from users while enhancing the efficacy of the device's communication with its destination.
It is estimated that the "Internet of Things", also known as IoT, is going to result in more than 20 Billion (with a "B") devices being connected to the Internet by 2020. This will include everything from appliances to home lighting to sensing systems to the more traditional range of computing devices. Among the concerns for consumers and device makers alike is "where to hide the antennas;" not to mention how to produce them cost-effectively with few consumers willing to pay more for this additional functionality.
A new generation of electrochemical sensors known as chemiresistors is serving as the platform for a broad range of new systems designed to quickly detect contamination in our air, water, and food. In many cases, the robust nature and conductivity of carbon nanotubes make them a perfect "base material" for the construction of these chemiresistors. Many of the newest sensor designs also take advantage of CHASM's V2V ink technology, which enables high-volume production via low-cost screen printing.
There was a time where heaters in vehicles and airplanes were limited to windscreens and occasionally to instrumentation. As we have become more dependent on electronic technology in more applications the need to have them available in varying conditions has become more urgent. Anti-collision and proximity sensors in automobiles, both in the windshield and within the headlight lenses, have to be kept clear to keep those systems functioning. Forced air systems are cumbersome and slow to respond making surface-embedded heater technology even more attractive.
The integration of electronics into vehicles, homes, and other human spaces is not limited to display screens and touch panels. For functional, aesthetic, and emotional reasons, lighting elements are playing an increasing role in the environments where we spend our time. Indicator lights help us interact with systems while others use color tones and brightness to create environments which relax or energize. For maximum effect, designers look to embed this lighting seamlessly into the surfaces of their products, requiring materials that are not only conductive, but also mold into their surroundings.
Carbon-based materials have long played a critical role in lithium ion battery technology. With the continued pressure to drive increased battery performance, more ordered carbon materials have been deployed to increase energy density and cycle life. Everything from purified graphite to graphene to carbon nanotubes have been deployed in both anode and cathode formulations in one manner or another. In recent years, the use of higher purity carbon nanotubes has shown promise in both lithium ion and lithium sulfur battery systems.