New Generation of Polymers Offers the Best of Both Worlds
Polymer compounds such as plastics have literally been responsible for building key features of the modern world we now inhabit. They are lightweight, durable, non-corrosive, and inexpensive to produce. These materials have found widespread use in high technology, which has still found a place for traditional metals such as copper, which conduct electricity well.
Now, Polymers are emerging that can conduct electricity as well as light. Such characteristics will make them a popular choice for building many innovative devices that might have been all but impossible to construct with traditional materials.
Mario Leclerc has been exploring the potential of this new generation of polymers. His work has already helped to penetrate their chemical and physical subtleties, showing how they could be reproduced for industrial applications. And he has also investigated such applications, demonstrating the design of sensors that would be of interest in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.
As the holder of a Canada Research Chair, Leclerc will move from the development of sensors to the creation of polymer systems capable of manipulating DNA. This kind of technological platform will become the foundation for new work in proteomics, where researchers seek to learn more about the functions of genes within the body. As this technology is refined, Leclerc believes entirely new types of commercial opportunities could arise.
His research is also considering the prospect of employing these new polymers as light sources. Since these materials would be suitable for making thin, sturdy films with considerable surface area, their ability to transmit light would make them appealing for sophisticated visual displays such as computer monitors.