Darryl Smith knows how to make organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) more energy efficient than those available today. Current OLEDs have a transparent layer of electrically conductive material deposited on a substrate. Another layer of organic polymer, the one from which light is emitted, is deposited on the transparent layer. The third and final conducting layer is then deposited. Smith, a Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher, proved a method by which an intermediate chemical layer is applied between a conducting layer and the polymer layer of OLEDs, increasing the efficiency of current flow. He describes the single-molecule layer as a self-assembled polymer. The self-assembling layer has rows that line up in the same direction. Adding atoms at each end of the mono-molecule layer, the molecules "anchor" themselves to the conducting layer while maintaining polarity. The molecules' charged ends resemble the poles of a bar magnet. The thin layer shuttles electric charges between OLED's conducting and polymer layers. For more information, go to www.lanl.gov.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.