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Patent Filed for Nanocomposite Polymer-Based Film

Jude Iroh (University of Cincinnati)

Jude Iroh (University of Cincinnati)

A materials scientist at University of Cincinnati has developed a transparent and electrically conductive polymer-based film with potential solar and fuel cell applications. Jude Iroh (pictured right), who is also an engineering professor at UC, recently filed a provisional patent for the discovery.

The nanocomposite film is transparent and electrically conductive, says Iroh, as well as economical, durable, flexible, and heat resistant. With this material, Iroh envisions, “a very thin solar panel that can be unrolled and applied, perhaps to an automobile, while the sun is shining, then peeled off and stored.”

The material can also serve as a replacement of indium tin oxide, widely used in touch-screen devices like smart phones and video kiosks, as well as flat panel displays, electronic inks, and organic light-emitting diodes. The U.S. imports all of its indium, considered a rare earth, with the majority of the metal coming from Canada, but significant portions also imported from Russia and China. The price of indium has fluctuated over the past year, but today stands about 20 percent higher than a year ago.

The development of the new material grew out Iroh’s earlier work on coatings, particularly for corrosion prevention. “A coating is essentially a film,” says Iroh. As Iroh tells it, he gained more insight into the function of various substances as coatings with useful properties, even if they were not coating something.

Iroh filed a provisional patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on 5 November. He already holds several patents on laminated composites.

Read more: Copper Nanofilm Can Replace Rare Earth in Digital Displays

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