Barrier Films Protect Electronics in Prolonged Salt Water Submersion

New barrier films created by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) may enable electronic components to better survive in extremely harsh environments, such as when submerged in salt water for an extended period of time.

The new films were created by Samuel Graham, a professor of micro and nano engineering, and his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology, while exploring how to use atomic layer deposition to produce better barrier films. Barrier films, used in everything from food and drug packaging to consumer electronics, help prevent spoilage or damage due to exposure to air or water. However, manufacturing methods used to create these materials often result in tiny holes that let in water or oxygen and lead to contamination. The new barrier films, the researchers say, are able to protect electronic components from corrosion while submerged in salt water for months.

“By creating such barrier films, we are able to extend the lifetime and reliability of electronic devices,” Graham said, adding that the films will play a large role in the development of future electronic devices made with organic materials, such as implantable biomedical devices. The new films could also be used in electronics such light-emitting diodes (LED) used in solid-state lighting and displays, solar cells, and organic electrochromic windows.

Graham recent discussed some of the Georgia Tech team’s latest developments in a presentation titled “The Performance and Durability of ALD-based Barrier Films” at the AVS 60th International Symposium and Exhibition held last week in Long Beach, Calif., USA.


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