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How to Tailor the Physical Properties of Semiconductor Materials (And Why it Matters)

Sep 25, 2018 9:15:00 AM / by Brian Knapp

How to Tailor Why it Matters ImageDid you know that scientists and engineers are able to tailor the physical properties of semiconductor materials?

Today’s manufacturers are able to deliver unique material sets to the market based on specific application requirements.

How you ask? Keep reading to uncover examples of tunable properties. 

1. Glass Transition Temperature 

Polymers impact almost every aspect of modern-day life. And glass transition temperature is an important property to consider for the end-use of a polymer, according to Chemical Resistance of Commodity Thermoplastics. 

Glass transition temperature (Tg) alters the mechanical properties of polymer materials, from glassy to rubbery. When the adhesive or plastic is exposed to temperatures below its Tg, the movement of polymer chains gradually fades. They’re essentially locked into place. When heat is applied above the Tg, the polymer molecules move freely around each other, improving elasticity. Tg can be tuned by appropriate choice of polymer molecular weight and functional groups, as well as the amount of cross-linking.

2. Elongation

Elongation is critical in manufacturing, as it measures how much strain the polymer can withstand without breaking.

Rigid plastics like polycarbonate are strong, but not very tough when it comes to elongation. It requires a lot of force to deform rigid plastic, but once stretched and flexed, the shape can break. Flexible plastics, like polyethylene, are different in the sense that they don’t resist deformation as well as rigid plastics, but they tend not to break when force is applied. Take a Ziploc storage bag, for instance. The bag is made of thin plastic that easily stretches. While not as strong as rigid properties, the material is considered tough because of its ductility. 

Manufacturers are able to tailor the elongation by choice of functional groups and the amount of cross-linking.

3. Transparency 

Transparency is a highly valued property for many applications, considering not all polymers are transparent.

Polymers with higher crystallinity are generally opaque, whereas polymers with lower crystallinity are generally transparent.

Think of a gemstone. The molecular chains are arranged in distinct patterns to refract light. These structures are strong, stiff and stable. Amorphous polymers are the opposite. The molecular chains have no connection with each other and exist as separate coils. These structures are flexible when the polymer is pushed or pulled. By manipulating polymer properties, manufacturers can adjust haze, gloss, color, clarity and more to increase aesthetic value.

The ability to tailor these properties to increase elasticity and ductility allows manufacturers to create semiconductor materials appropriate for specific applications and environments. This tailoring enables the technology we use in our lives every day.

Ready to get started with tailored materials? Promerus is a global leader in Cyclic Olefin Polymers (COP) and is driven to provide advanced materials solutions for your challenges in semiconductor and optoelectronic applications. We encourage you to download the Complete Guide to Semiconductor Materials to see what Promerus can do for you. 

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Topics: Semiconductor Materials

Brian Knapp

Written by Brian Knapp