Predictions of physicists of the University of Luxembourg recently lead to the discovery of a material with special electric properties which engages the interest of plastics producing industry. Three years ago, physicists from Luxembourg had theoretically predicted the unusual characteristics of a particular composite material.
These calculations could now be confirmed by experiment in cooperation with the “Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal” in Bordeaux, France, and resulted in the discovery of a so-called high-k-material, which might enable the production of better energy storage devices – the basis for smaller, faster and more efficient electronics.
The earlier calculations made by the team around Tanja Schilling, professor of physics at the University of Luxembourg, were at first rather bad news for the field of materials research: they indicated that certain compound materials made of polymers and flaky graphene, unlike those made of polymers and carbon nanotubes, did not increase the conductivity of the material to the degree that was generally expected until then. It was a surprising conclusion at the time which questioned the use of graphene in order to increase conductivity.
This prediction, however, now lead to a highly promising discovery: the effect that put the conductivity of the plastics-graphene-compound into question, causes it to have remarkable dielectric properties. This means that one can generate a strong electric field inside of it – the fundamental property for the production of efficient capacitors.
These are tiny components that can store energy statically and occur in almost all electronic devices, where they act as voltage regulators or information storage, among other things. Computers, for example, contain billions of those.
“Materials with a high dielectric constant, so-called high-k-materials, are highly sought after,” says Tanja Schilling, head of the research project at the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication of the University of Luxembourg. “The discovery based on our predictions was now published in the renowned journal Nature Communications – which we are very happy about.”
The special dielectric properties of the compound material occur as a result of its liquid crystal properties impeding the arrangement of the graphene flakes into a conducting structure. So when there is an electric current, it does not flow directly through the compound, but instead generates a strong electric field.
While in other compound materials the current permeable effect is the dominant one, the Luxembourg physicists could demonstrate mathematically that, in this case, the liquid crystal properties play the major role and are responsible for the unexpected electric properties.
The chemicals company Solvay, partner of the research project, now wants to continue the research around this new high-k-material, aiming to produce synthetics for particularly efficient capacitors and further applications in the future.
Notes to the editor:
The article “Graphene Liquid Crystal Retarded Percolation for New High-k Materials” is published in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9700).
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/151116/ncomms9700/full/ncomms9700.html?WT.ec_i... - Link to the scientific publication
http://www.uni.lu - homepage of the University of Luxembourg
Britta Schlüter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light
05.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells
01.12.2016 | University of California - Riverside
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering