Darmstadt-based NanoWired is developing an innovative process in which two components that are to be connected together are coated with a "lawn" of nanowires then pressed together at room temperature. Since the melting temperature of the metal on nanostructures is lower, the nanowires partially fuse together to form a stable connection. This "KlettWelding" (hook-and-loop welding) process has three key advantages over conventional alternatives such as soldering and bonding. Firstly, it can be used on lots of different materials. Secondly, no heat is generated, which means sensitive components are safe and, thirdly, the connection exhibits very high electrical and thermal conductivity.
The process is already working well in the lab, where complex scanning electron microscopy is being used for quality control purposes. Now, the scientists want to develop a KlettWelding production machine that can be integrated into industrial systems for manufacturing semi-conductors and assemblies. The research project is worth a total of almost 700,000 euros, is to run until 2019 and is being supported by the LOEWE initiative, which aims to promote scientific and business excellence in the German region of Hesse. The project partners anticipate that a KlettWelding demo plant will be available at the end of the project to showcase the technology's application in industrial production. Part of the reason for the impressive pace of development is that NanoWired has already been working with a number of companies in the chemical and semiconductor industry for some time.
Mittelhessen University of Applied Sciences (35390 Giessen, Germany)