David Kirkpatrick

June 16, 2008

Conductive plastics

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:46 pm

A potentially very useful nanotech application. Putting two insulating plastics together creates a two nanometer electrically conductive strip. This interface is more conductive than standard semiconductors.

From the link:

Jamming the right two pieces of plastic together creates a thin but strongly conducting channel along the junction that acts like a metal, say Dutch researchers. The discovery could lead to a whole new way of making electronics from non-metallic materials, and even new superconductors.

Alberto Morpurgo’s team at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands attached a micrometer-thick crystal of the organic polymer TTF to a similarly thin organic crystal of the polymer TCNQ.

The thin, flexible crystals conform to each other’s shape and stick together due to van der Waals forces, says Morpurgo.

Metal surprise

Both TTF and TCNQ are electrical insulators. But Morpurgo’s team found that a 2-nanometre-thick strip along the interface between the two crystals conducts electricity as well as a metal.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)