Radio-Frequency-Transparent, Electrically Conductive Graphene Nanoribbon Thin Films as Deicing Heating Layers

Deicing heating layers are frequently used in covers of large radio-frequency (RF) equipment, such as radar, to remove ice that could damage the structures or make them unstable. Typically, the deicers are made using a metal framework and inorganic insulator; commercial resistive heating materials are often nontransparent to RF waves. The preparation of a sub-skin-depth thin film, whose thickness is very small relative to the RF skin (or penetration) depth, is the key to minimizing the RF absorption. The skin depth of typical metals is on the order of a micrometer at the gigahertz frequency range. As a result, it is very difficult for conventional conductive materials (such as metals) to form large-area sub-skin-depth films. In this report, we disclose a new deicing heating layer composite made using graphene nanoribbons (GNRs). We demonstrate that the GNR film is thin enough to permit RF transmission. This metal-free, ultralight, robust, and scalable graphene-based RF-transparent conductive coating could significantly reduce the size and cost of deicing coatings for RF equipment covers. This is important in many aviation and marine applications. This is a demonstration of the efficacy and applicability of GNRs to afford performances unattainable by conventional materials.