0
Facebook
Volume 88 Issue 45 | p. 48 | Concentrates
Issue Date: November 8, 2010

Thin Films Made Easy

Simple solution-based method coats surfaces with transparent conducting polymer films
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: organic thin film, conducting polymers, thin-film deposition
Agitating an immiscible solution of polyaniline nanofibers (left) triggers a deposition process that coats the vial with a thin film of polymer within seconds (right).
Credit: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
films
 
Agitating an immiscible solution of polyaniline nanofibers (left) triggers a deposition process that coats the vial with a thin film of polymer within seconds (right).
Credit: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
This SEM image shows the result of a simple deposition method that quickly coats various surfaces with thin films of conducting polymers, in this case polyaniline.
Credit: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
J3tilt
 
This SEM image shows the result of a simple deposition method that quickly coats various surfaces with thin films of conducting polymers, in this case polyaniline.
Credit: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
Within seconds of agitating a mixture of immiscible liquids and polyaniline nanofibers, a concentration gradient of the nanofibers at the interface of the liquids triggers a deposition process that coats the vial with a thin film of the polymer, visible as a color change as the film climbs up the inside of the vial.
Credit: Julio M. D'Arcy and Richard B. Kaner/UCLA

Transparent thin films of conducting polymer nanofibers can be deposited onto various materials by means of a solution-based procedure that is simpler, less expensive, and quicker than common deposition methods, according to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, who developed the technique (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1008595107). Spin-coating, electrodeposition, and other methods are used to form polymer thin films for devices such as organic solar cells and light-emitting diodes. But various shortcomings limit broader application of these methods. For example, spin-coating can lead to inefficient material usage, and electrically driven methods exclude the possibility of depositing films on nonconducting surfaces. Julio M. D'Arcy, Richard B. Kaner, Yang Yang, and coworkers may have found a way around those problems. The researchers report that emulsifying a mixture of two immiscible liquids and nanofibers of polyaniline, polythiophene, and other conducting polymers leads to a surface tension gradient at the interface between the liquids. That condition triggers viscous flow, which causes the polymer to coat the nearby surfaces within seconds of standing after being agitated.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society