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Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) led by Dr. Kamal Asadi have solved a four-decade-long challenge of producing very thin nylon films that can be used in electronic memory components, for instance. The thin nylon films are several hundred times thinner than a human hair, and could thus be attractive for applications in bendable electronic devices or for electronics in clothing.
As the microelectronics industry shifts toward wearable electronics and e-textiles, researchers are integrating electronic materials such as ferroelectrics with textiles. Nylons, a family of synthetic polymers, were first introduced in the 1920s for women's stockings, and are today among the most widely used synthetic fibers in textiles. They consist of a long chain of repeated molecular units, i.e. polymers, in which each repeat unit contains a specific arrangement of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen with carbon atoms.
Nylons - Properties - Charges - State - Materials
Nylons also exhibit so called "ferroelectric properties." This means that positive and negative electric charges can be separated, and this state can be maintained. Ferroelectric materials are used in sensors, actuators, memory and energy-harvesting devices. The advantage in using polymers is that they can be liquified using adequate solvents and therefore processed from solution at low cost to form flexible thin films which are suitable for electronic devices such as capacitors, transistors and diodes. This makes ferroelectric polymers a viable choice for integration with e-textiles. Although nylon polymers have significant commercial applications in fabrics and fibers, their application in electronic devices has been hindered because it was impossible to create high-quality thin...
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