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Plastic is one of the most versatile materials available. It is cheap, flexible and easy to process, and as a result
 

Summary: Plastic is one of the most versatile materials available.
It is cheap, flexible and easy to process, and as a result
itisallaroundus­fromourcomputerkeyboardstothe
soles of our shoes. One of its most common appli-
cations is as an insulating coating for electric wires;
indeed, plastic is well known for its insulating charac-
teristics. It came as something of a surprise, therefore,
when in the late 1970s a new generation of plastics was
discovered that displayed exactly the opposite beha-
viour ­ the ability to conduct electricity. In fact, plas-
tics can be made with a whole range of conductivities ­
there are polymer materials that behave like semi-
conductorsandtherearethosethatcanconductaswell
as metals. This discovery sparked a revolution in the
electronics community, and three decades of research
effort is now yielding a range of stunning new appli-
cations for this ubiquitous material.
One of the most important properties of semicon-
ducting plastics is that they can emit light in response
toanappliedvoltage,whichhasledtothedevelopment

  

Source: Andelman, David - School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University

 

Collections: Materials Science; Physics