Conductive cotton

Cotton is the most used material in the textile and apparel production, because of its process easiness, relative cheapness, good mechanical properties and wear ability comfort. It has all characteristic to be used for wearable electronics.

Title of the patent Conductive fiber materials
Thematic area Chemistry and biotechnology
Ownership Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna
Inventors Beatrice Fraboni, Annalisa Bonfiglio, Giorgio Mattana
Protection Italy, India
Licensing status Available for licensing agreement
Keywords Conductive, fiber, wearable electronics, smart textiles, E-textiles, transistor
Filed on Mar 07, 2011

Wearable electronics has become one of the most promising fields in electronics, especially because of the many prospective applications concerning sensing/monitoring of body functions, delivering communication facilities, data transferring, just to mention a few.

At the moment, one of the main challenges is represented by the necessity to identify materials with the right electrical properties but exhibiting, at the same time, the essential qualities of good textile materials.

A method to obtain electronic devices starting from natural cotton fibres, especially designed to make two classes of devices: passive devices such as resistors obtained from electrically conductive cotton yarns, and two types of active devices, namely organic electrochemical transistors and organic field effect transistors.

This study opens an avenue for real integration between organic electronics and traditional textile technology and materials.

A transistor in textile form is a real step forward because it paves the way to the possibility of realizing more complex devices and functions, including the fabrication of whole textile-based circuits.

This fact is very important for several reasons: first of all because it allows to overcome problems intrinsically related to the fusion of two very different technologies, like textile and electronics, enabling low cost integration of electronic functions on a normal textile platform; secondly, but not less relevant, because it allows to exploit the topological richness offered by textiles (for instance the ability of obtaining 3D structures or the possibility of combining different yarns in a unique structure).

These possibilities are strategically related to the ability of obtaining yarns that, besides having the required electronic properties, also maintain the mechanical and processing features of a normal fibre.