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Two Plastics Merge To Create 'Metal'

Researchers attached two insulators to each other, a thin sheet of organic polymer TTF to a similarly thin organic crystal of the polymer TCNQ. Surprisingly, a strongly conductive channel is created along the junction that acts just like metal.

Alberto Morpurgo's team at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands put the two plastics together; they stick together due to van der Waals forces.

When laid side-by-side the two materials are physically unchanged, but the way electrons behave is subtly altered along the interface where the different materials are in close proximity, says Morpurgo. In tests, they tried cooling down the combined materials, expecting the odd behaviour to disappear because the two plastics become more insulating at lower temperatures.

Instead the interface became a better conductor, just as metals offer less resistance to electricity when they are cooled.

I wonder if plasteel is conductive, as well as resistant to blunt force trauma.

Via New Scientist.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/16/2008)

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