A type of plastic that exhibits metallic and semi-conductor-like properties will be described in an inaugural doctoral lecture at the University of Leicester on Wednesday June 4th(*).

In his lecture, Dr. M. A. Mohamoud will discuss a novel class of materials called “conducting polymers.” Conducting polymers are smart materials that can mimic biological systems and can be used as components of artificial nerves, electronic noses/tongues, drug-release-and-delivering systems, and artificial muscles.

They can also be used as energy storage devices in battery technology, electrochromic display devices (in smart window technology and light emitting diodes), and biological sensor technology.

Dr Mohamoud commented: “In this lecture, I will show real time movies of free standing conducting polymers at a nanoscale level (1000 times less than the size of human hair) functioning as micro-muscles that have potential applications in medical surgical operations.

“I shall be explaining their properties; how they function and conduct electricity and how their properties can further be improved and exploited.”

He will also discuss the many potential applications these new materials offer as an economic alternative to precious metals (e.g. gold, silver and platinum) with the added advantage of being able to tune their electronic and optical properties.

Dr Mohamoud added: “Traditionally, plastics have been regarded as insulators and used by the electronics industry on the basis of these properties. However, in the year 2000, the scientific community celebrated this field of materials chemistry by awarding the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Heeger, Shirakawa and MacDiarmid for their work in the discovery of conducting polymers.

“In this presentation, I strongly highlight our contribution to the recent research in the advancement of these systems. The optimization of these systems fully relies upon the understanding of the basic principles that govern the physico-chemical processes underpinning the operations of conducting polymer systems.”

During his PhD studies, Dr Mohamoud carried out fundamental research of the correlations between composition, structure and properties of conducting polymers.

He is now a post-doctoral researcher in the Scionix laboratory in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester. His current research involves metal deposition using ionic liquids (solventless liquids of mixed ions).

This lecture will be based on work carried out during his postgraduate studies at the University of Leicester, where he was awarded his PhD in July 2007.

(*) 5:30 pm at Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 3. Dr Mohamoud’s lecture is open to the public and free of charge.