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

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale: Discovery is another step toward faster and more energy-efficient optical devices for computation and communication September 22nd, 2014

New chip promising for tumor-targeting research September 22nd, 2014

Twisted graphene chills out: When two sheets of graphene are stacked in a special way, it is possible to cool down the graphene with a laser instead of heating it up, University of Manchester researchers have shown September 22nd, 2014

New star-shaped molecule breakthrough: Scientists at The University of Manchester have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created September 22nd, 2014

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

'Squid skin' metamaterials project yields vivid color display: Rice lab creates RGB color display technology with aluminum nanorods September 15th, 2014

Copper shines as flexible conductor August 29th, 2014

Possible Futures

Air Force’s 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014

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

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Academic/Education

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

Malvern technology delivers Malvern reliability in multi-disciplinary lab at Queen Mary University London September 9th, 2014

State University of New York Trustees Unanimously Approve SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) as New Name for Merged SUNY CNSE / SUNYIT September 9th, 2014

New Vice President Takes Helm at CNSE CMOST: Catherine Gilbert To Lead CNSE Children’s Museum of Science and Technology Through Expansion And Relocation August 29th, 2014

Chip Technology

Twisted graphene chills out: When two sheets of graphene are stacked in a special way, it is possible to cool down the graphene with a laser instead of heating it up, University of Manchester researchers have shown September 22nd, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

Announcements

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale: Discovery is another step toward faster and more energy-efficient optical devices for computation and communication September 22nd, 2014

New chip promising for tumor-targeting research September 22nd, 2014

Twisted graphene chills out: When two sheets of graphene are stacked in a special way, it is possible to cool down the graphene with a laser instead of heating it up, University of Manchester researchers have shown September 22nd, 2014

New star-shaped molecule breakthrough: Scientists at The University of Manchester have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created September 22nd, 2014

Energy

Iranian Researchers Synthesize Stable Ceramic Nanopowders at Room Temperature September 20th, 2014

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

Rice rolls 'neat' nanotube fibers: Rice University researchers' acid-free approach leads to strong conductive carbon threads September 15th, 2014

Simple, Cost-Effective Method Proposed for Synthesizing Zinc Oxide Nanopigments September 15th, 2014

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

NEI Corporation and PneumatiCoat Technologies Sign Agreement to Jointly Develop and Market New Materials for Lithium-ion Batteries September 12th, 2014

UT Arlington research uses nanotechnology to help cool electrons with no external sources September 11th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

Simple, Cost-Effective Method Proposed for Synthesizing Zinc Oxide Nanopigments September 15th, 2014

Indium/Copper Sulfide Compound Semi-Conductor Synthesized through New Method September 8th, 2014

Material development on the nanoscale: Doped graphene nanoribbons with potential September 8th, 2014

Layered graphene sandwich for next generation electronics September 8th, 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