Optimizing electrical conductivity of Aluminum covetic nanocomposites via CO2 laser synthesis on polyimide substrate
Covetics, a novel class of metal-carbon composite materials, have been a recent topic of focus for materials science research due to their superior electrical and mechanical properties. These hybrid materials consist of metals infused with nanocarbons - carbon materials with a structure on the nanometer scale. For example, Aluminum covetics, which are the focus of this study, are composed of both graphene and Aluminum. They benefit from the properties of both materials, including high conductivity, increased tensile strength, increased yield strength, and improved hardness. However, researchers are still developing methods of synthesis that produce covetic materials with optimal conductivity. One solution to this is manufacturing of Aluminum covetics with thicker polyimide film under a CO2 laser. This method works by inscribing graphene onto an Aluminum sample covered with polyimide tape; the polyimide tape, acting as a substrate, forms graphene when it is lased. Thus, the resultant laser-induced graphene (LIG), is embedded into the surface of the Aluminum, combining the two materials, and forming a covetic layer of LIG + Al. In this study, it was found that increasing the thickness of polyimide tape on the Aluminum sample leads to higher conductivity of the covetic material produced. This can be attributed to the fact that more polyimide tape provides a higher quantity of substrate for graphitization, thus allowing more graphene to become embedded in the Aluminum. Overall, this study could lead to an improvement in the conductivity of Aluminum covetics, making their use more feasible in microelectronics and other electrical applications.
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