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Ultrathin Densified Carbon Nanotube Film with “Metal-like” Conductivity, Superior Mechanical Strength, and Ultrahigh Electromagnetic Interference Shielding Effectiveness

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journal contribution
posted on 12.10.2020, 14:40 by Yan-Jun Wan, Xiao-Yun Wang, Xing-Miao Li, Si-Yuan Liao, Zhi-Qiang Lin, You-Gen Hu, Tao Zhao, Xiao-Liang Zeng, Chun-Hong Li, Shu-Hui Yu, Peng-Li Zhu, Rong Sun, Ching-Ping Wong
Flexible and lightweight high-performance electromagnetic interference shielding materials with minimal thickness, excellent mechanical properties, and outstanding reliability are highly desired in the field of fifth-generation (5G) communication, yet remain extremely challenging to manufacture. Herein, we prepared an ultrathin densified carbon nanotube (CNT) film with superior mechanical properties and ultrahigh shielding effectiveness. Upon complete removal of impurities in pristine CNT film, charge separation in individual CNTs induced by polar molecules leads to strong CNT–CNT attraction and film densification, which significantly improve the electrical conductivity, shielding performance, and mechanical strength. The tensile strength is up to 822 ± 21 MPa, meanwhile the electrical conductivity is as high as 902,712 S/m, and the density is only 1.39 g cm–3. Notably, the shielding effectiveness is over 51 dB with a thickness of merely 1.85 μm in the broad frequency range of 4–18 GHz, and it reaches to ∼82 dB at 6.36 μm and ∼101 dB at 14.7 μm, respectively. Further, such CNT film exhibits excellent reliability after an extended period in strong acid/alkali, high temperature, and high humidity. It demonstrates the best overall performance among representative shielding materials by far, representing a critical breakthrough in the preparation of shielding film toward applications in wearable electronics and 5G communication.