Background Electrostatic charges produced by the contact of two dissimilar insulator or dielectric materials have been studied for a thousand years. The principles of electrostatics have been instrumental in the development of semiconductors, biomaterials, charged insulators, etc. By combining traditional electrostatic method with electrochemistry, the researchers have developed a method to quantify these charges and carry out chemical reactions that can generate hydrogen or induce chemiluminescence or oxidation-reduction reactions precisely.
Invention Description The researchers have developed an analytical method for identifying the induced charges on an electrified dielectric or insulator. Using common electrochemical methods, the charge density, energy, and spatial distribution of electrons or ions on the interfaces of insulators can be quantified. By conducting faradaic reactions on the surface of Teflon, a method for studying reactions on insulator surfaces was developed. The understanding of the surface reaction mechanisms can be extremely valuable to industries dealing with electroplating, chemiluminescence, semiconductors, etc.
Ability to perform reactions and syntheses without harmful byproducts A method for identifying electrostatic charges and determining the absolute charge of an electron or hole A method for single-electrode electrochemical methods A method for precise metal plating of insulators such as polymers for biomedical and semiconductor applications
Market Potential/Applications Hydrogen generation Metal deposition - metal coated charged insulators for microelectronic applications Clinical analysis of DNA, enzymes, and other biomaterials using electrostatic chemiluminescence Dielectrics Capacitors Analytical chemistry equipment
Development Stage Proof of concept
UT Researcher Chongyang Liu, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin Allen J. Bard, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin
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