Sunday, December 27, 2009

80. Transparent Materials

[more superconducting wire, and transparent superconductors as well]

Room Temperature Superconductors, Inc.

Has developed what are believed to be the world’s first, commercial, ambient-temperature superconducting polymer materials, trademarked Ultraconductors

RTS has three issued U.S. Patents.

The very large
pending application is in the process of division. It will become ten additional patent applications.

To read more about this exciting technology

Click here

Room Temperature Superconductors Inc. (RTS),
a subsidiary of Magnetic Power Inc., has developed the world's first ambient temperature superconducting materials, trademarked Ultraconductors. The company has worldwide rights to this technology, with landmark process and materials patents U.S. #5,777,292 and #6,552,883.

RTS also has achieved significant polymer technology breakthroughs and experimental demonstrations for film applications, enhanced materials properties, and additional superconducting materials.

The company's primary technology objectives are:

* To develop commercial processes and core fabrication technologies

* To reach application-ready platforms for commercial film and wire products

* To achieve proof of concepts for additional product applications

WHAT is an Ultraconductor ?


- A Primer -

By Kevin P. Shambrook, Ph.D.

ULTRACONDUCTORtm n. "Electrical conductors, which have certain properties similar to present-day superconductors. They are best considered as a novel state of matter."

Ultraconductors are patented materials being developed for commercial applications by Room Temperature Superconductors, Inc. They are made by the sequential processing of amorphous polar dielectric elastomers.

They exhibit a set of anomalous magnetic and electric properties, including: very high electrical conductivity (> 1011 S/cm -1) and current densities (> 5 x 108 A/cm2) over a wide temperature range (1.8 to 700 K).

Additional properties established by experimental measurements include: the absence of measurable heat generation under high current; thermal versus electrical conductivity orders of magnitude in violation of the Wiedemann-Franz law; a jump-like transition to a resistive state at a critical current; a nearly zero Seebek coefficient over the temperature range 87 - 233 K; no measurable resistance when Ultraconductor(tm) films are placed between superconducting tin electrodes at cryogenic temperatures.

The Ultraconductor properties are measured in discrete macromolecular structures which form over time after the processing.

In present thin films (1 - 100 micron) these structures, called 'channels', are typically 1 - 2 microns in diameter, 10 - 1000 microns apart, and are strongly anisotropic in the Z axis.

RTS was founded in 1993 to develop the Ultraconductor(tm) technology, following 16 years of research by a scientific team at the Polymer Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, led by Dr. Leonid Grigorov, Ph.D., Dc.S. There have been numerous papers in peer-reviewed literature, 4 contracts from the U.S. government, a landmark patent (US patent # 5,777,292). and a devices patent (US patent # 6,552,883.)

Another patent is pending and a fourth now is being completed.

To date 7 chemically distinct polymers have been used to create Ultraconductors(tm), including olefin, acrylate, urethane and silicone based plastics. The total list of candidate polymers suited to the process is believed to number in the hundreds.

In films, these channels can be observed by several methods, including phase contrast optical microscope, Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), magnetic balance, and simple electric contact. The channel structures can be moved and manipulated in the polymer.

Ultraconductor(tm) films may be prepared on metal, glass, or semiconductor substrates.

The polymer is initially viscose (during processing). For practical application the channels may be "locked" in the polymer, by crosslinking, or glass transition.

The channel's characteristics are not affected by either mode.

A physics model of the conducting structures, which fits well with the experimental measurements, and also a published theory, have been developed. The next step in material development is to increase the percentage or "concentration" of conducting material.

This will lead to films with a larger number of conducting points (needed for interposers and other applications) and to wire.

Wire is essentially extending a channel to indefinite length, and the technique has been demonstrated in principle. Connecting to these conducting structures is done with a metal electrode, and when two channels are brought together they connect.

From an engineering point of view, we expect the polymer to replace copper wire and HTS in many applications.

It will be considerably lighter than copper, and have less electric resistance.



The wonder stuff that could change the world: Graphene is so strong a sheet of it as thin as clingfilm could support an elephant

By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 7:39 AM on 7th October 2011

Revolutionary: Graphene, which is formed of honeycomb pattern of carbon atoms, could be the most important new material [transparent, electric, and strong building material as well] material for a century [it's a completely unique mixture of consumptive categories in this material: a thin, transparent, super-strong (harder than diamond) structural building material that has electrical conduction properties better than copper (copper is hardly a structural material), though graphene's lack of semiconductor principles may make it difficult for some fantasy computer operations that currently are based on mostly silicon's physical capacities of 'on/off' switching in the material itself (there are other options for this switching though than polluting silicon industries: see the category on communication materials for more options); thus with graphene always 'on' in other words, and very efficiently so, it makes it difficult to do any anticipated Boolean/operations in the material itself in base 2--the insight of all computers from Shannon onward.]

Revolutionary: Graphene, which is formed of honeycomb pattern of carbon atoms, could be the most important new material for a century

It is tougher than diamond, but stretches like rubber. It is virtually invisible, conducts electricity and heat better than any copper wire and weighs next to nothing. Meet graphene — an astonishing new material which could revolutionise almost every part of our lives.

Some researchers claim it’s the most important substance to be created since the first synthetic plastic more than 100 years ago.

If it lives up to its promise, it could lead to mobile phones that you roll up and put behind your ear, high definition televisions as thin as wallpaper, and bendy electronic newspapers that readers could fold away into a tiny square.

It could transform medicine, and replace silicon as the raw material used to make computer chips [perhaps everything except this however, see note above.]

The ‘miracle material’ was discovered in Britain just seven years ago, and the buzz around it is extraordinary.

Last year, it won two Manchester University scientists the Nobel Prize for physics, and this week Chancellor George Osborne pledged £50 million towards developing technologies based on the super-strong substance.

In terms of its economics, one of the most exciting parts of the graphene story is its cost. Normally when scientists develop a new wonder material, the price is eye-wateringly high.

But graphene is made by chemically processing graphite — the cheap material in the ‘lead’ of pencils.
Every few months researchers come up with new, cheaper ways of mass producing graphene, so that some experts believe it could eventually cost less than £4 per pound.

But is graphene really the wonder stuff of the 21st century?

For a material with so much promise, it has an incredibly simple chemical structure. A sheet of graphene is just a single layer of carbon atoms, locked together in a strongly-bonded honeycomb pattern.

Pledge: George Osborne, pictured visiting the University of Manchester lab where graphene is being researched, has said £50m will be set aside to help with development of technologies based on the substance

That makes it the thinnest material ever made. You would need to stack three million graphene sheets on top of each other to get a pile one milimetre high. It is also the strongest substance known to mankind — 200 times stronger than steel and several times tougher than diamond.

A sheet of graphene as thin as clingfilm could hold the weight of an elephant. In fact, according to one calculation, an elephant would need to balance precariously on the end of a pencil to break through that same sheet.

Despite its strength, it is extremely flexible and can be stretched by 20 per cent without any damage.

It is also a superb conductor of electricity — far better than copper, traditionally used for wiring — and is the best conductor of heat on the planet.

But perhaps the most remarkable feature of graphene is where it comes from. Graphene is made from graphite, a plentiful grey mineral mostly mined in Chile, India and Canada.

A pencil lead is made up of many millions of layers of graphene. These layers are held together only weakly — which is why they slide off each other when a pencil is moved across the page.

Graphene was first isolated by Professors Konstantin Novoselov and Andrew Geim at Manchester University in 2004. The pair used sticky tape to strip away thin flakes of graphite, then attached it to a silicon plate which allowed the researchers to identify the tiny layers through a microscope.

Discovery: Professors Andre Geim, left, and Dr Konstantin Novoselov first isolated graphene in 2004. They later won the Nobel Prize for Physics last year

Russian-born Prof Novoselov, 37, believes graphene could change everything from electronics to computers.

‘I don’t think it has been over-hyped,’ he said. ‘It has attracted a lot of attention because it is so simple — it is the thinnest possible matter — and yet it has so many unique properties.

‘There are hundreds of properties which are unique or superior to other materials. Because it is only one atom thick it is quite transparent — not many materials that can conduct electricity which are transparent.’

Its discovery has triggered a boom for material science. Last year, there were 3,000 research papers on its properties, and 400 patent applications.

The electronics industry is convinced graphene will lead to gadgets that make the iPhone and Kindle seem like toys from the age of steam trains.

Modern touch-sensitive screens use indium tin oxide — a substance that is transparent but which carries electrical currents. But indium tin oxide is expensive, and gadgets made from it shatter or crack easily when dropped. Replacing indium tin oxide with graphene-based compounds could allow for flexible, paper-thin computer and television screens. South Korean researchers have created a 25in flexible touch-screen using graphene.

Ancient history: If the development of graphene is successful it will make the iPad and Kindle seem like toys from the age of the steam train

Imagine reading your Daily Mail on a sheet of electric paper. Tapping a button on the corner could instantly update the contents or move to the next page. Once you’ve finished reading the paper, it could be folded up and used afresh tomorrow.

Other researchers are looking at many ways of using graphene in medicine. It is also being touted as an alternative to the carbon-fibre bodywork of boats and bikes [and car tires?] Graphene in tyres could make them stronger.

Some even claim it will replace the silicon in computer chips. In the future, a graphene credit card could store as much information as today’s computers.

‘We are talking of a number of unique properties combined in one material which probably hasn’t happened before,’ said Prof Novoselov. ‘You might want to compare it to plastic. But graphene is as versatile as all the plastics put together.

‘It’s a big claim, but it’s not bold. That’s exactly why there are so many researchers working on it.’

Dr Sue Mossman, curator of materials at the Science Museum in London, says graphene has parallels with Bakelite — the first man-made plastic, invented in 1907.

Resistant to heat and chemicals, and an excellent electrical insulator, Bakelite easily made electric plugs, radios, cameras and telephones.

‘Bakelite was the material of its time. Is this the material of our times?’ she says. ‘Historically we have been really good at invention in this country, but we’ve been really bad at capitalising on it.’

If graphene isn’t to go the same way as other great British inventions which were never properly exploited commercially at home — such as polythene and carbon fibre — it will need massive investment in research and development.

Core material: Graphene comes from a base material of graphite and is so thin that three millions sheets of the substance would be needed to make a layer 1mm thick

That’s why the Government’s move to support its development in the UK got a warm round of applause at the Conservative Party conference.

But compared to the investment in graphene in America and Asia, the £50 million promised by the Chancellor is negligible. South Korea is investing £195million into the technology. The European Commission is expected to invest one billion euros into graphene in the next ten years.

Yet despite the flurry of excitement, many researchers doubt graphene can live up to such high expectations.

It wouldn’t be the first wonder material that failed to deliver. In 1985 another form of carbon, called fullerenes or buckyballs, was hailed as the revolutionary new material of the era. Despite the hype, there has yet to be a major practical application.

And there are already some problems with using graphene. It is so good at conducting electricity that turning it into devices like transistors — which control the flow of electrical currents, so need to be able to stop electricity flowing through them — has so far proved problematic.

Earlier this year computer company IBM admitted that it was ‘difficult to imagine’ graphene replacing silicon in computer chips.

And sceptics point out that most new materials — such as carbon-fibre — take 20 years from invention before they can be used commercial use.

You might think from all the hype, that the road to a great graphene revolution has already been mapped out.

But its future is far from certain. In fact it’s barely been penciled out in rough.

Read more:

1 comment:

Mark said...

Liquid glass: the spray-on scientific revelation
Liquid glass, a revolutionary invisible non-toxic spray that protects against everything from bacteria to UV radiation, could soon be used on a vast range of products.

By Nick Collins
Published: 9:41AM GMT 01 Feb 2010

The spray, which is harmless to the environment, can be used to protect against disease, guard vineyards against fungal threats and coat the nose cones of high-speed trains, it has been claimed.

The versatile spray, which forms an easy-clean coating one millionth of a millimetre thick – 500 times thinner than a human hair – can be applied to virtually any surface to protect it against water, dirt, bacteria, heat and UV radiation.

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It is hoped that liquid glass, a compound of almost pure silicon dioxide, could soon replace a variety of cleaning products which are harmful to the environment, leaving our world coated in an invisible, wipe-clean sheen.

The spray forms a water-resistant layer, meaning it can be cleaned using only water. Trials by food-processing companies showed that sterile surfaces covered with a film of liquid glass were equally clean after a rinse with hot water as after their usual treatment with strong bleach.

The patent for the technology is owned by a German company, Nanopool, which is in discussions with UK companies and the NHS about the use of liquid glass for a wide range of purposes.

Several organisations are said to be testing the product, including a train company in Britain, which is using liquid glass on both the interior and exterior of the train, a luxury hotel chain, a designer clothing company and a German branch of a hamburger chain.

Key to the product's versatility is the fact it can be sold in a solution of either alcohol or water, depending on what surface needs to be coated. The layer formed by the liquid glass is said to be flexible and breathable.

Neil McClelland, Nanopool's UK project manager, told The Independent: "Very soon almost every product you purchase will be protected with a highly durable, easy-to-clean coating ... the concept of spray-on glass is mind-boggling."