ITA, the advanced technologies research institute in Trapani, Sicily, and the UK’s Surrey NanoSystems are working closely to research carbon nanotube-based nanocomposites and mechanical sensors, for aerospace and medical applications. In August Surrey NanoSystems delivered its innovative carbon nanotube growth tool to ITA and the two companies have also entered into a partnership agreement.

ITA selected the NanoGrowth tool for its ability to repeatably grow defined carbon nanotube configurations, and to grow materials at low temperatures. The tool configuration chosen includes a large range of materials processing modules, to support ITA’s diverse research programs. In addition to the NanoGrowth tool’s core chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and plasma-enhanced CVD (PECVD) nanomaterial growth capabilities, Surrey NanoSystems will fit modules for catalyst delivery, ion etching and thin film deposition. This wide-ranging capability will allow ITA researchers to grow precision single and multi-walled nanotube structures and silicon nanowires, as well as being able to dope, etch and deposit silicon.

The two organizations have signed a three-year development partnership to share intellectual property. Surrey NanoSystems is developing advanced processing templates to support the fabrication of carbon nanotube and silicon nanowire structures for commercial manufacture of semiconductor devices and related electronics applications. Under the agreement ITA will receive these recipes in advance of launch, in return for beta testing.