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The INCT team has been developing a series of applications using carbon nanomaterials. We highlight the production of nanocomposites that increase the performance of conventional materials, and applications to improve the efficiency of clean energy generation devices (photovoltaic and fuel cells). The group has also developed electronic devices that use nanotubes and graphene that function as gas, chemical and biological sensors. 


A nanocomposite is the mixture of a conventional material with nanoparticles of another material. It is thus possible to make this conventional material (plastics, resins, cement, etc.) more resistant, mechanically and thermally, or to behave as an electrical conductor. At present, nanocomposites are already used in car parts and packaging materials. Carbon and graphene nantoubes have been used in mixtures with materials such as polymers and ceramics, resulting in nanocomposites with superior mechanical, thermal, electrical, structural and chemical properties. The INCT Nanocarbono group has been developing a series of applications, examples of which are the composite of nanotubes and cement (international patent in partnership with the company Intercement, composites of transparent and electrically conductive films for electrovoltaic applications, epoxy resins/nanotubes (aerospace applications) and fungicides for soybean and bean oraga.These processes and materials are perfectly adaptable for uses in strategic areas, such as Nuclear, Oil, Gas and for the production of Intelligent Materials.

Electronic Devices and Sensors

Nanotechnology will have a strong impact in the fields of information and energy. Today's silicon-based electronic devices are made up of hundreds of millions of transistors printed on a single silicon block. Every year, manufacturing techniques are improved, making it possible to reduce the size of individual transistors, with a consequent increase in the processing capacity and operating frequency of a processor.

A series of technical difficulties, however, impose limits on the minimum size of transistors sculpted from silicon blocks, on an industrial scale. It is believed that new nanoelectronic devices will be designed differently from current devices. Recently, the possibility of building much smaller transistors using carbon nanotubes and organic molecules was demonstrated.

The electrical response of devices based on carbon nanomaterials strongly depends on the presence of gases and liquids, thus making possible the development of gas sensors and chemical and biological sensors from these devices. Like a “nose” or an “electronic tongue”, the sensors are capable of detecting minimal environmental changes, thus emitting signals to trigger mechanisms in electronic and mechanical devices or to prevent environmental accidents, among other possibilities.

Researchers from the INCT Nanocarbono have mastered the nanofabrication techniques of  electronic devices, using the lithography infrastructure in a clean room at UFMG. Transistors based on nanotubes and graphene have already been manufactured and are being tested as gas sensors.

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