R&D yields numerous applications for conductive polymers

San Jose, Calif. --April 9, 2003-- Conductive polymers offer a unique combination of properties that make them attractive alternatives for traditional conducting materials in certain applications. These unusual polymers, which are conducting rather than insulating, offer properties such as ion permeability and an alterable chemical structure that allows conductivity to be controlled, which provides exciting possibilities for new applications.

The relative lightness and ease of processing of these polymers is driving adoption in numerous niche markets.
Scientists are focusing on making conducting polymers
technologically and economically competitive with metallic
conductors, and as ubiquitous in the marketplace.

"Since the first doped polyacetylene, a conducting polymer, was developed more than two decades ago, the main challenges to commercializing these materials have centered around making them stable so that they have long operating life times," states Technical Insights Analyst Joe Constance.

Devices incorporating conducting polymers require a balance of conductivity, processability, and stability and recent research has been able to optimize all three properties simultaneously. Lowering the conductivity resistance of polymers, which is two to three times greater than that of metals, is the main concern of commercializing efforts.

"The number of potential products in which conducting polymers can be used is nearly unlimited, ranging from plastic batteries to compact discs," says Constance.

Applications in anticorrosion coatings, lighting displays, plastic batteries, electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, antistatic textiles, and welding materials have already been targeted and are being developed.

The mechanical flexibility and tunable optical properties of some of these polymers make them attractive materials for optical and electronic devices. They can be used in light-emitting devices (LEDs)

Contact: Julia Paulson
Technical Insights

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