Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tunable plastic thermometers

15.12.2010
Scientists use an ion beam to produce conductive plastic films for electrical resistance thermometers

Researchers at the Universities of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia have discovered that the ability of a plastic to conduct electricity can be tuned by exposure to an ion beam. Usually plastics conduct electricity so poorly that they are used as the insulation around electrical cables.

However, the team was able to tune the properties of a plastic film using an ion beam so that it conducted electricity like the metals used in the electrical wires themselves – and even passed electric current without resistance, materials which do this are known as superconductors.

To demonstrate a potential application of this low-cost, robust, and flexible material, the team produced electrical resistance thermometers that meet industrial standards. These results are published in the journal ChemPhysChem.

Ion beam techniques are widely used in the microelectronics industry to tailor the conductivity of semiconductors such as silicon. Attempts have been made to adapt this process to plastic films since the 1980s, with limited success. While the use of argon and krypton ion beams leads to a substantial increase in electrical conductivity, the resulting films remain insulators.

The team took an alternative approach, known as ion beam metal-mixing, where a thin film of metal is deposited on a plastic sheet and mixed into the polymer surface using an ion beam. They found that this can produce conducting plastics with metallic or even superconducting properties.

"The process allows us to cover over ten orders of magnitude in electrical resistance and access three distinct regimes of conductivity – insulator, metal and superconductor – with a single material system", says Andrew P. Stephenson, lead author of the paper. This remarkable tunability is achieved by a careful choice of the species used for the ion beam. Stephenson and colleagues start with a polyetheretherketone (PEEK) film coated with a nanoscale layer of tin-antimony alloy, and use a tin ion beam to mix the metal into the plastic surface.

This results in an efficient and stable blending of the metal-polymer surface. Furthermore, the conductivity of the resulting material can be tailored precisely by tuning the initial metal film thickness, beam energy and beam dose.

This level of tunability and control in electrical resistance lends itself naturally to the application of resistance temperature measurement. As a demonstration of this potential application, the team tested their films against an industry standard platinum resistance thermometer, obtaining comparable accuracy. As well as being inexpensive, flexible and easily produced with equipment commonly used in the microelectronics industry, these materials are vastly more tolerant of exposure to oxygen compared to standard semiconducting polymers such as polyhexylthiophene or pentacene. "Combined, these advantages may give ion-beam-processed polymer films a bright future in the on-going development of soft materials for plastic electronics applications –a fusion between current and next-generation technology", the researchers say.

Author: Andrew P. Stephenson, Ben J. Powell, University of Queensland, Brisbane (Australia), http://www.uq.edu.au/

Title: A Tunable Metal-Organic Resistance Thermometer

ChemPhysChem 2011, 12, No. 1, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cphc.201000762

Andrew P. Stephenson | Wiley-VCH
Further information:
http://www.wiley-vch.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Individual Receptors Caught at Work
19.10.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
19.10.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

19.10.2017 | Life Sciences

The “everywhere” protein: honour for the unravellor of its biology

19.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction

19.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>