Duke University scientists have developed a method to make large quantities of copper nanowires, which could be used to create bendable, foldable tablet computers. Copper nanowires could replace indium tin oxide, which is currently used to connect electronic pixels that produce images in flat-panel TVs, computers, thin-film solar cells, and flexible displays.
Copper is cheaper, more efficient, and much more abundant than indium. Copper also could produce nanowires that are much stronger than indium tin oxide, making them capable of building flexible screens and devices, according to the researchers. "If we are going to have these ubiquitous electronics and solar cells, we need to use materials that are abundant in the earth's crust and don't take much energy to extract," says Duke professor Benjamin Wiley.
Copper nanowires could potentially lead to supercomputers small enough to fit into the palm of your hand as early as 2017, says University of Edinburgh professor Michael Zaiser.
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