New material

Polymer or a semiconductor

Published: Saturday 30 April 2005

-- a sri lankan scientist has discovered a new material that combines properties of a polymer and a semiconductor at room temperature. G K R Senadeera, a researcher with the Kandy-based Institute of Fundamental Studies, chanced upon the new crystalline form of bis(ethylenedithio)tetrathiafulvalene, popularly called et salt, while working with the material's other crystalline structures.

To obtain the new material, Senadeera, who worked with T Mori at the Department of Organic and Polymeric Materials of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, used a technique called electrocrystallisation. The process takes place when a current is passed through a pair of platinum electrodes (called anode and cathode) kept in a solution that conducts electricity. Ensuing reaction ensures formation of black and lustrous crystals on the anode. The findings were published recently in the Bulletin of Material Sciences (Vol 28, No 1).

Semiconducting polymers that bring together the virtues of plastics and semiconductors can be potentially used to make a wide range of electronic devices such as transistors, light-emitting diodes, solar cells and even lasers, says Senadeera.

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