Scanning electron microscope picture of a ferroelectretic foam, together with a graphical representation of the charging states in the pores.
A research team in Austria has been unravelling the secrets of the charging of plastic foams. Its findings open the way for the development of flat microphones and loudspeakers, as well as "smart" surfaces that could be used as floor coverings, among other things. The interest in the success of the group´s work - which was co-funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) - has resulted in the integration of the project in a European interdisciplinary research network.
During a thunder storm the electrical tension between the earth and the air is discharged by the lightning and hence lowered. In non-polar polymer foams a comparable process results in the precise opposite - an increase in the electrical charge. First, an electric discharge is induced in the microscopic voids (pores) in foamed plastics by applying an external voltage. The propagation of the discharge is then inhibited by the insulating properties of the polymer foam, resulting in charging of the pore walls. As the non-polar material is non-conductive, the charge is stored there. A team under Prof. Siegfried Bauer at the Johannes Kepler University Linz Institute for Experimental Physics has succeeded in proving the existence of this phenomenon. In so doing it has challenged established scientific doctrine which holds that such states can only exist in polar materials.
Pores with potential
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Siegfried Bauer | alfa
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InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light
05.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
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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.
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