Harnessing the Power of Nature: Developing Flexible BTS Polymers for Temperature and Long-Wave Infrared Sensing

Designing advanced \”BTS\” materials for temperature and infrared long-wave sensing

Scientists are inspired by the natural world and use biochemical compounds to create advanced materials. In order to create a blueprint of various functions, it is possible to replicate the molecular structures and functional motifs within artificial materials. Tae Hyun Kim, a member of a team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology, the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, and the California Institute of Technology, in the U.S.A. and South Korea created a flexible thermosensitive polymer called BTS. It was designed to mimic the ion-transport dynamics of pectin, a component of plant cell walls.

Researchers used a versatile procedure to synthesize the polymer and engineered its properties so that they were elastic, flexible, and stretchable. The flexible polymer performed better than vanadium oxide, a state-of-the art temperature sensing material. The thermal sensor-integrated materials showed high sensitivity, and stable functionality from 15deg to 55deg Celsius despite mechanical deformations. Flexible BTS polymers have the properties to map temperature changes across space and time. They also facilitate broadband infrared detection relevant for many applications.

Due to their multifunctionality and cost-effectiveness, organic electronic materials offer a competitive alternative to silicon-based microelectronics. Materials scientists are trying to customize the properties of these materials on a molecular scale for a variety of sensing applications in wearable and implantable device with specific characteristics, such as flexibility and elastic. There is a growing demand for organic electronic devices that can be used to create a variety of soft, active materials. Organic thermal sensors, for example, are suitable for robotics and remote health care, but with some limitations.


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