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Navy

Conductive polymers for anti-corrosion paints, coatings, and production of thin film electronics

Low or zero bandgap polymers enable new applications

Materials Electronics

Conductive polymers have been investigated for their corrosion-inhibiting properties as well as their application in flexible thin film electronics. However, to date there are no stable and highly conductive polymers with the exception of PEDOT (band-gap energy=1.6 eV.)

To address this product need, Navy researchers have developed a low bandgap, oxidation-resistant, conductive polymer which will significantly extend the lifetime of equipment and enable new flexible electronics. Bandgap is defined as the energetic separation between the filled valence and empty conduction bands of bulk solid-state material and is traditionally reported in units of electron volts (1 eV = 1240 nm). As the bandgap corresponds to energy between the HOMO (highest occupied molecular orbital) and LUMO (lowest unoccupied molecular orbital) of the material, it determines the onset of absorbance or the energy of any potential emission. Smaller bandgaps result in greater thermal population of the conduction band, thus contributing to enhanced conductivity.1

The Navy’s novel approach is to synthesize new monomers based on a derivative of triafulvalene including the radialene structure within the molecule that can be polymerized via chemical or electrochemical methods to exhibit high conductivities.

Films of these new polymers can be formed from casting from a solvent solution and electrochemically deposited onto a substrate. In powder form, these polymers can be pressed into pellets or mixed with other polymeric materials to form films with high conductivities and corrosion inhibiting properties. Estimated bandgap values are <1.5 eV with conductivity >10,000 S/cm.

1. Rasmusssen, Seth; Low-Bandgap Polymers Encyclopedia of Polymeric Nanomaterials DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-36199-9_5-1 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

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