Monday, May 7, 2001
Jeff Brinker, a senior scientist at Sandia National Labs and a
University of New Mexico professor, has discovered a new way of detecting
mechanical, chemical, and thermal stress. He uses intelligent nanostructures
made from conjugated polymers that change from blue to red when changes in
mechanical stress and temperature are introduced.
The polymers change back to their original color when the stress and temperature changes are removed. The structures also change color in the presence of different solvents and chemicals. This colorful feat occurs at the nano level and involves linking monomers into polymers in an orderly fashion.
Conjugated polymers are typically similar to a bowl of entangled spaghetti, but Brinker found a way of organizing them. By controlling interactions between the polymers, he affects the materials electric and optical properties.
The smart materials also serve mechanical functions such as protective coatings and permeation barriers. For more information, contact Brinker at (505) 272-7627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.