Date of Award

8-2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Computing

Committee Chair

Randy Buchanan

Committee Chair Department

Computing

Committee Member 2

Paige Buchanan

Committee Member 2 Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Member 3

Joe Zhang

Committee Member 3 Department

Computing

Abstract

Polymeric thin film materials exhibit extreme electrical properties that can be difficult to measure in a repeatable fashion. The primary goal of this research was to establish a reliable method for categorizing the electrical properties of elastomeric thin film polymeric materials, including surface and bulk conductivity and current versus voltage material response. Since the electrical response will be affected by environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, a controlled environmental chamber must be designed which will readily accommodate the necessary equipment, computer monitoring of the environment, and the facile handing of polymeric thin-films. Without such an environment, the electrical properties of films tested in the lab have demonstrated significant variability in response. Current methods of analysis require expensive equipment that are not amenable to the application of an appropriate rubric. The specific goals of this project include (1) the design and implementation of equipment capable of measuring the desired electrical responses and which are compatible with efforts of environmental control; (2) the acquisition of data describing the current-voltage characteristics of a series of thin film samples containing increasing amounts of polarizable nanoparticle dopants; and (3) the preparation of a detailed error analysis report concerning the specific data obtained in the context of the experimental protocols used, and where possible direct comparisons to published results are presented. The desired outcome of this research effort is to establish a reliable procedure for categorizing the electrical properties of elastomeric polymer thin film dielectric samples.

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