A Silvery Film is Opening New Possibilities for Flexible Electronics (UF Liberal Arts and Sciences News)

A Silvery Film is Opening New Possibilities for Flexible Electronics

Researchers from University of Florida chemistry professor Adam S. Veige’s lab were confident that they had created a new version of one of the most important semiconducting polymers. The reviewers of their latest paper, meanwhile, weren’t yet convinced.

They wanted direct, visual evidence that the silvery film the lab had synthesized was in fact cyclic polyacetylene — a counterpart to linear polyacetylene, whose discovery in 1958 launched the field of flexible electronics and later earned Nobel Prizes for three scientists. A cyclic version of the polymer would have a ring-like structure and drastically different properties.

With the possibility of the paper’s rejection looming, then-graduate student, Zhihui Miao, managed to get what they needed at the last minute. After brushing the polymer onto a surface, he used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to capture the first image showing the distinctive ring structure.

Their synthesis of cyclic polyacetylene, published in Nature Chemistry in June 2021, presents exciting possibilities for flexible electronic devices such as wired clothing, display screens or even artificial skin that can receive electrical impulses. Veige, Ph.D., collaborated with fellow UF chemistry professor Brent S. Sumerlin, Ph.D., on the research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation.

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Technology available for licensing Efficient Synthesis of Highly Pure Cyclic Polyacetylene, a Versatile Conductive Polymer.
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