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Ni Nanobuffer Layer Provides Light-Weight CNT/Cu Fibers with Superior Robustness, Conductivity, and Ampacity

Zou, Jingyun, Liu, Dandan, Zhao, Jingna, Hou, Ligan, Liu, Tong, Zhang, Xiaohua, Zhao, Yonghao, Zhu, Yuntian T., Li, Qingwen
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018 v.10 no.9 pp. 8197-8204
carbon nanotubes, coatings, copper, electrical conductivity, heat transfer, nickel
Carbon nanotube (CNT) fiber has not shown its advantage as next-generation light-weight conductor due to the large contact resistance between CNTs, as reflected by its low conductivity and ampacity. Coating CNT fiber with a metal layer like Cu has become an effective solution to this problem. However, the weak CNT–Cu interfacial bonding significantly limits the mechanical and electrical performances. Here, we report that a strong CNT–Cu interface can be formed by introducing a Ni nanobuffer layer before depositing the Cu layer. The Ni nanobuffer layer remarkably promotes the load and heat transfer efficiencies between the CNT fiber and Cu layer and improves the quality of the deposited Cu layer. As a result, the new composite fiber with a 2 μm thick Cu layer can exhibit a superhigh effective strength >800 MPa, electrical conductivity >2 × 10⁷ S/m, and ampacity >1 × 10⁵ A/cm². The composite fiber can also sustain 10 000 times of bending and continuously work for 100 h at 90% ampacity.