R&D yields numerous applications for conductive polymers

April 09, 2003

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) to replace silicon as the substrate material in clock radios, appliance and instrument readouts, automotive dashboard displays, and aircraft cockpit displays.

For now, the electronics industry will mainly benefit from the technology, using the materials in EMI shielding and electronic circuits. The detection and monitoring industries have already started using conducting polymers for sensors in electronic noses that detect environmentally hazardous chemicals, factory emissions, and flavors or aromas in food products.

The future for this technology lies in all-polymer batteries, injection-molded antistatic products, printed circuit boards, electrochromic smart windows and automotive rear vision systems, paint primers, antistatic flooring and work surfaces, and conducting pipes for mining explosives.

New analysis by Technical Insights, a business unit of Frost & Sullivan (www.Technical-Insights.frost.com), on Conductive Polymers, provides valuable insight into the industrial applications of emerging polymer technologies. It identifies key markets, applications, developers, and obstacles in the way of commercial success.

Technical Insights will hold a conference call at 1:00 p.m. (EDT)/ 10:00 p.m. (PDT) on April 22, 2003 to provide a summary and analysis of the latest developments in conducting polymers. Those interested in participating in the call should send an email to Julia Paulson at jpaulson@frost.com with the following information for registration:

Full name, Company Name, Title, Contact Tel Number, Contact Fax Number, Email. Upon receipt of the above information, a confirmation/pass code for the live briefing will be emailed to you.
Frost & Sullivan is a global leader in strategic market consulting and training. Acquired by Frost & Sullivan, Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and reports. The ongoing analysis on conductive polymers technologies is covered in High Tech Materials Alert, a Technical Insights subscription service. Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.

Conductive Polymers
Report: D253


Julia Paulson
P: 210-247-3870
F: 210-348-1003
E: jpaulson@frost.com

Pramila Gurtoo
DID: 603-6204-5811
Gen: 603-6204-5800
Fax: 603-6201-7402
E: pgurtoo@frost.com


Technical Insights

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