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High-tech film that blocks electromagnetic interference

Electromagnetic interference (EMI), which can harm smartphones, tablets, chips, drones, wearables and even aircraft and human health, is increasing with the explosive proliferation of devices that generate it. The market for EMI-blocking solutions, which employ conductive or magnetic materials, is expected to surpass $7 billion by 2022. National Science Foundation-funded researchers have used an innovative technique to produce relatively low-cost EMI-blocking composite films. To fashion the films, the team employed spin-spray layer-by-layer processing. The system employs mounted spray heads above a spin coater that deposit sequential nanometer-thick monolayers of oppositely charged compounds on a component, producing high quality films in much less time than by traditional methods, such as dip coating. While spin-spraying limits component size, in theory, the system could create EMI shielding for devices and components equivalent in diameter to the 12-inch wafers, for which spin-coating is frequently employed as a coating mechanism in the semiconductor industry.

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