Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > X-Ray Vision: Seeing Plastic Mixtures Inside and Out

Abstract:
Simultaneous surface and bulk imaging of polymer blends with X-ray spectromicroscopy

X-Ray Vision: Seeing Plastic Mixtures Inside and Out

UK | Posted on July 27th, 2010

Two scientists working in Europe have paved the way for improved plastic electronics by devising a technique that can be used to take images of plastic mixtures on the nanoscale simultaneously in the body of the material and at the surface.

Low-cost plastic solar cells, brighter displays, and a longer battery life for mobile phones and e-readers are some foreseeable outcomes, as manufactures could use the method to better understand the materials they use.

Chris McNeill of the University of Cambridge (UK) and Ben Watts of the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland) are the researchers behind the breakthrough published in Macromolecular Rapid Communications. They shine synchrotron radiation on polymer mixtures to take sophisticated multiwavelength X-ray images of the bulk of the polymer mixture, and at the same time collect the electrons formed by the interaction of the X-rays with the surface of the sample. The second image can be compared directly with the first to see the differences in distribution of the components in the body of the film and on the surface.

The surface-imaging part works because any photoelectrons formed in the bulk of the material are absorbed before they reach the surface, and hence only those formed at the surface are free to leave the material and create a signal, which is "small, but measurable".

Watts explains that "the X-rays that are shone on the sample are "tuned to the carbon atom", causing the polymers, which are mostly carbon, to "resonate in a way that makes them absorb much more of the light at particular wavelengths than one would otherwise expect. This resonance between the light and atom is also very sensitive to the way in which the atoms are linked together…resulting in [high] contrast between polymer materials that otherwise appear nearly identical." An example is shown in the picture.

"At Cambridge we are interested in the use of semiconducting polymers for applications in solar cells, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and transistors," says McNeill. "As is the case in other areas of polymer science, the blending of two semiconducting polymers sometimes enables you to achieve properties or function that cannot be achieved with the one polymer alone. The efficiency of polymer solar cells and LEDs are greatly improved through blending, and we are particularly interested in how film microstructure affects device performance. Being able to image not only bulk structure but surface structure as well is critical, as it is the surfaces that connect to the electrodes (and the outside world) so having a technique that helps us to understand how surface and bulk structures are connected was highly desirable.

Both scientists studied in same group in Australia before going separate ways; McNeill to pursue his interest in organic semiconductors, and Watts his in synchrotron-based characterization. Their expertise in complementary areas meant they were abreast of current issues in the field of plastic electronics while being aware of new opportunities for advanced materials characterization.

McNeill: "In a sense all the components required for such an experiment have been available for a while, and it required a realization of this opportunity and the assembly of the components. We acknowledge Rainer Fink of the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg for first demonstrating the feasibility of the experiment…There were some technical challenges in having to suppress the photoelectrons being emitted from other parts of the experiment in order to detect only those coming from the sample, but these were overcome mostly through Ben's dogged persistence and thoroughness."

They see the work as benefiting not just those working with semiconducting polymers, which are necessary for plastic electronics, but all types of thin-film polymer blends. There may also be applications in other organic, but non-polymer, mixtures or other materials where "characterization of surface and bulk is crucial."

The next steps involve extending the analysis of surface structure to "a full quantitative analysis", according to McNeill, "This would require imaging at multiple X-ray photon energies." But the longer exposure times requires could damage the surfaces being studied. "We are also applying our technique to the study of polycrystalline semiconducting polymer films that will provide insight into the interplay between film microstructure and charge transport in these devices."

Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2010, DOI: 10.1002/marc.201000269

This paper is available online at:

www.materialsviews.com/details/news/761091/XRay_Vision_Seeing_Plastic_Mixtures_Inside_and_Out.html

####

Contacts:
Dr. Christopher McNeill
Room 28 Kapitsa Building,
Cavendish Laboratory,
JJ Thomson Avenue,
Cambridge CB3 0HE.
Tel: +44 (0)1223 337287

Copyright © Materials Science Journals

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Guo Lab Shows Potential of RNA as Heat-resistant Polymer Material for Nanoarchitectures April 23rd, 2014

Vacuum Ultraviolet Lamp of the Future Created in Japan: First Solid-State Vacuum UV Phosphor, Described in APL-Materials, Promises Smaller, Safer, Longer Lasting, Low Power Lamps for Industrial Applications April 22nd, 2014

Global leader in solar cell manufacturing eyes New York for major expansion outside of Japan: CNSE and Solar Frontier Explore $700 Million Investment, Job Creation in New York State April 22nd, 2014

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Progress made in developing nanoscale electronics: New research directs charges through single molecules April 21st, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

PAM-XIAMEN Offers UV LED wafer April 15th, 2014

Better solar cells, better LED light and vast optical possibilities April 12th, 2014

Possible Futures

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Surface Characteristics Influence Cellular Growth on Semiconductor Material March 12th, 2014

The "Tipping Point" February 12th, 2014

Academic/Education

Global leader in solar cell manufacturing eyes New York for major expansion outside of Japan: CNSE and Solar Frontier Explore $700 Million Investment, Job Creation in New York State April 22nd, 2014

University of Waterloo Visits China to Strengthen Bonds With Research Partners April 21st, 2014

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

First annual science week highlights STEM pipeline and partnerships: UB, SUNY Buffalo State and ECC team up with the City of Buffalo and its schools for April 7-11 events April 3rd, 2014

Chip Technology

Harris & Harris Group Notes the Receipt of Proceeds From the Sale of Molecular Imprints' Semiconductor Business to Canon April 22nd, 2014

Progress made in developing nanoscale electronics: New research directs charges through single molecules April 21st, 2014

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Scientists open door to better solar cells, superconductors and hard-drives: Research enhances understanding of materials interfaces April 14th, 2014

Announcements

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Guo Lab Shows Potential of RNA as Heat-resistant Polymer Material for Nanoarchitectures April 23rd, 2014

Harris & Harris Group Notes the Receipt of Proceeds From the Sale of Molecular Imprints' Semiconductor Business to Canon April 22nd, 2014

National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on the Success of CRS-3 and the First Flight of the Falcon 9R April 22nd, 2014

Energy

Like a hall of mirrors, nanostructures trap photons inside ultrathin solar cells April 22nd, 2014

Global leader in solar cell manufacturing eyes New York for major expansion outside of Japan: CNSE and Solar Frontier Explore $700 Million Investment, Job Creation in New York State April 22nd, 2014

Nanoreporters tell 'sour' oil from 'sweet': Rice University's hydrogen sulfide nanoreporters gather intel on oil before pumping April 22nd, 2014

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics: Start-ups in these fields show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says April 17th, 2014

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries: Lithium-sulfur batteries last longer with nanomaterial-packed cathode April 16th, 2014

Catching the (Invisible) Wave: UC Santa Barbara researchers create a unique semiconductor that manipulates light in the invisible infrared/terahertz range, paving the way for new and enhanced applications April 11th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

Like a hall of mirrors, nanostructures trap photons inside ultrathin solar cells April 22nd, 2014

Global leader in solar cell manufacturing eyes New York for major expansion outside of Japan: CNSE and Solar Frontier Explore $700 Million Investment, Job Creation in New York State April 22nd, 2014

High-temperature plasmonics eyed for solar, computer innovation April 17th, 2014

A molecular approach to solar power: Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining April 15th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE