The proposed graphene-based electrode materials for electrodynamic dust screens provides a unique approach to deposit both the conductive material and a high dielectric constant insulator in a single wet coating method. The laser reduction of graphene oxide will provide electrodes with improved electrical conductivity over current state of the art, while the non-reduced graphene oxide composite will demonstrate an improved dielectric constant and higher breakdown voltage. The resulting EDS array will exhibit higher flexibility than current ITO alternatives and will be processable on complex or highly curved surfaces. The proposed work will build on WattGlass’s existing knowledge base of liquid deposition of thin-film coatings at an industrial scale and our ongoing efforts to utilize graphene oxide to provide static-dissipative coatings for passive dust mitigation. Additionally, this work will utilize WattGlass’s developed capabilities to simulate lunar soiling and dust removal in a vacuum environment that includes UV and electron bombardment. At the end of the Phase I, a TRL of 4 is expected with the lab scale validation of an EDS electrode array. This will prepare for the anticipated Phase II research effort, where the electrode material will be further optimized, incorporated into an existing EDS prototype, and improved dust clearing will be demonstrated in one of NASA’s lunar or Martian environmental test chambers. A TRL of 6 is expected at the conclusion of Phase II.
Electrodynamic dust screens are anticipated to be the main defense for solar arrays, sensor housings, and EMU visors. The proposed transparent graphene-based electrode material’s improved conductivity, insulation, and flexibility addresses the limitations of current state of the art EDS systems to provide solutions for these surfaces. Additionally, improved transparent conductive electrode materials will find application in other systems that will be included in all future missions including displays, sensor arrays, and photovoltaics.
The market for transparent conductive films is $4.9B in 2020 growing at a CAGR of 9.2%. Growth is driven by the electronics industry’s shift to user-oriented wearable and flexible electronics. Novel materials are anticipated to form more than 25% of the market by 2026, therefore the proposed technology could have significant market value and aligns well with WattGlass’s development path.