Faculty Publications and Presentations

Resistive and Capacitive γ-Ray Dosimeters Based On Triggered Depolymerization in Carbon Nanotube Composites

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We report γ-ray dosimeters using carbon nanotubes wrapped with metastable poly(olefin sulfone)s (POSs) that readily depolymerize when exposed to ionizing radiation. New POSs, designed for wrapping single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), are synthesized and characterized. The resulting POS-SWCNT composites serve as the active transducer in a novel class of γ-ray dosimeters. In our devices, polymer degradation results in immediate changes in the electronic potential of the POS-SWCNT active layers by decreasing the electron tunneling barriers between individualized tubes and by creating enhanced cofacial π–π electron contacts. By incorporating the SWCNT-POS composites into small resistive device platforms, we establish a rare example of real-time detection and dosimetry of radioactive ionizing radiation using organic-based materials. We show that the sensitivity of our platform closely depends on the intrinsic stability of the polymer matrix, the opacity toward γ-rays, and the dispersion efficiency (i.e., the individualization and isolation of the individual SWCNT charge carriers). Resistance decreases up to 65% after irradiation with a 40 krad dose demonstrates the high sensitivity of this novel class of γ-ray sensors. In addition, the detection mechanism was evaluated using a commercial capacitive device platform. The ease of fabrication and low power consumption of these small and inexpensive sensor platforms combined with appealing sensitivity parameters establishes the potential of the poly(olefin sulfone)-SWCNT composites to serve as a new transduction material in γ-ray sensor applications.