Conductive, plastic nanofibers capable of self assembly
A research team under the collective leadership of Nicolas Giuseppone and Bernard Doudin, successful created highly conductive plastic nanofibers that can self assemble. Giuseppone and his colleagues propelled the discovery by first determining the structure of nanowires. The team chemically altered triarylamines (synthetic molecules commonly used in Xerox processes) and observed some fascinating reactions. The new molecules rearranged themselves spontaneously into miniature fibers when exposed to light and a solution. Measured at a few hundred nanometers long, these nanofibers comprise of a ‘supramolecular’ assembly of several thousand molecules.
The team shifted their attention to studying the electrical properties of the nanofibers in collaboration with Doudin’s team. They continued their experiments by positioning the molecules within an electronic microcircuit made up of gold electrodes set 100nm apart. An electric field was started between these two electrodes to gauge the consequences. Researchers noted that the flash of light provoked the fibers to self assemble only in the space between the electrodes. It was their first finding; the second one was that the nanofibers were altered to be able to transfer current densities of above 2.106 Amperes per square centimeter. Moreover, they had very low interface resistance for metals6 . Those metals that are 10,000 times below that of the top organic polymers.
As these nanofibers are inexpensive and easily managed, they are considered to be very useful for future endeavors. They also exhibit the best advantages of metals and plastic organic polymers, both materials often chosen to conduct electricity. From analyzing the data, it is evident that these nanofibers have similar electric properties to those of metals though they are light and flexible like plastic compounds. Due to the positive nanofibers’ characteristics, the possibility for constructing miniaturized components to be compatible with miniaturized electronic devices such as solar cells, transistors etc is very important for future developments.