17 May 2019

Dr. Dorina Opris

« Elastomers that respond to external electric and magnetic fields are of high technological interest. They can be used as sensors, actuators, energy harvesters, coolers, and artificial muscles. We have developed a powerful synthesis strategy that allows obtaining elastomers with unprecedented elastic and superior dielectric properties by chemical modification with permanent dipoles. Extending this research, the collaboration with Argentina aims at obtaining multiferroic elastomeric composites with magneto-electric coupling. These composites have a realistic chance to be turned into useful devices in the near future. »

Cover story of the SNSF annual report Profil 2018-2019
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SEM image (Scanning Electron Microscope) of silver nanowires. They can be used as conductive material for piezoelectric devices. EMPA, Dübendorf, September 2018.

Dr. Dorina Opris, 44, and her colleagues have now succeeded in giving elastomers piezoelectric properties. "This material could probably even be used to obtain energy from the human body," says Opris. "You could implant it near the heart to generate electricity from the heartbeat, for instance." This could power pacemakers or other implanted devices, eliminating the need for invasive operations to change the battery. EMPA, Dübendorf, October 2018

The elastomer film will be firmly fixed on the rod before the SEM is closed. The magnifying capacity of 9000 times will help to understand the nano structure of the elastomer. EMPA, Dübendorf, September 2018.

3D printers located in the basement of the EMPA, are used to print the electrosensitive elastomer film. Here various experiments are being made to test the electromechanical response to an electrical influx on elastomers. EMPA, Dübendorf, September 2018.

Typical test device for piezoelectric elastomers. Attached to an electrical source the scientists measure and observe the deformation of the elastomer. EMPA, Dübendorf, September, 2018.

These devices are stacks of many thin electrosensitive elastomer films piled together. They will be under alternative tension for long periods to measure the resistance in time of this new material. EMPA, Dübendorf, September, 2018.

A high speed camera captures exactly the variations of the elastomer when current is applied. EMPA Dübendorf, September 2018.

Rows of simple electrical wires sorted by color are of everyday use for the scientists and their research. EMPA, Dübendorf, September 2018.

Samples of electrosensitive elastomer carefully sorted in a compartmentalized plastic box. EMPA, Dübendorf, September 2018.

Tubes and wires at one of the clean rooms of the EMPA. It is here that the elastomer film is printed with an enormous care and precision. EMPA, Dübendorf, October 2018.

Sina Abdolhosseinzadeh, 32, from Teheran dressing up a white smock gloves, face mask and goggles. The clean room where the enormous printer is, must stay absolutely dust free in order to achieve a maximum printing precision. EMPA, Dübendorf, October 2018.

Emergency showers are common sight in scientific facilities. EMPA, Dübendorf, October, 2018.