Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

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

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Researchers develop faster, precise silica coating process for quantum dot nanorods July 12th, 2016

Integrated trio of 2-D nanomaterials unlocks graphene electronics applications: Voltage-controlled oscillator developed at UC Riverside could be used in thousands of applications from computers to wearable technologies July 7th, 2016

GraphExeter illuminates bright new future for flexible lighting devices June 23rd, 2016

New nanomaterial offers promise in bendable, wearable electronic devices: Electroplated polymer makes transparent, highly conductive, ultrathin film June 13th, 2016

Possible Futures

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Academic/Education

The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins July 26th, 2016

News from Quorum: The College of New Jersey use the Quorum Cryo-SEM preparation system in a project to study ice crystals in high altitude clouds July 19th, 2016

Leti and Korea Institute of Science and Technology to Explore Collaboration on Advanced Technologies for Digital Era July 14th, 2016

SUNY Poly Celebrates Its 10th Year Exhibiting at SEMICON West with Cutting Edge Developments in Integrated Photonics and Power Electronics July 8th, 2016

Chip Technology

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites: Method to stack hundreds of nanoscale layers could open new vistas in materials science July 25th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Announcements

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene July 26th, 2016

Energy

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Designing climate-friendly concrete, from the nanoscale up: New understanding of concrete’s properties could increase lifetime of the building material, decrease emissions July 25th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells: Better understanding of perovskite solar cells could boost widespread use July 21st, 2016

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Synthesized microporous 3-D graphene-like carbons: IBS research team create carbon synthesis using zeolites as a template July 1st, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells: Better understanding of perovskite solar cells could boost widespread use July 21st, 2016

The future of perovskite solar cells has just got brighter -- come rain or shine: Korean researchers at POSTECH have succeeded in developing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells that retain excellent performance over two months in a very humid condition July 21st, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic