[ Instrument Network Instrument R & D ] Have you ever used a foldable screen smartphone, a "roll-up" TV, and an ultra-thin "wallpaper" TV that is only a few millimeters thick?
Currently, foldable, bendable, flexible and ultra-thin electronic products have broad market prospects. The materials required for these products are conductive plastics. To better understand this material, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a technology that can quickly and accurately use light to test the conductivity of materials. Now, the NIST team has demonstrated a further use of this light-based method to uncover a polymer behavior that has never been seen before.
Figure: The conductive material PCDTPT in this study looks like colored insect gummy candy
This work is NIST's contribution to the development of measurement tools for the study of new materials used in various electronic transmissions such as flexible biosensors, mobile phones and solar cells.
Structure like colored bug gum
Most appliances such as laptops and even computers in washing machines are based on silicon technology. Silicon is a material that controls conductivity because "charge carriers" can easily move through silicon crystals.
Although plastic has been widely used since the 19th century, conductive plastics have only just begun to be used in mainstream commercial electronics. Plastic is not as conductive as silicon, but plastic is customizable, lighter, cheaper, and easier to manufacture.
These images show the PCDTPT material in two forms: a solid state (top) and a state suspended in a liquid (bottom)
In the research conducted by NIST, researchers found that the conductivity of PCDTPT materials is basically the same when they are isolated from each other in liquid and when they are in solid contact with each other. The researchers said that the phenomenon of polymers has surprised them. Never seen.
Looking ahead, NIST researchers hope to be able to study similar polymers and understand their properties. Because PCDTPT's surprising conductivity may be just the tip of the iceberg, other polymers may have better conductivity.

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