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  • Autor: O. Vilitis x
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Chromofore Poling in Thin Films of Organic Glasses. 1. Overview of Corona Discharge Application

The introductory article in a series of works on the chromofore poling in thin films of organic glasses presents an overview of corona discharge applications, with a brief excursion into physics of the phenomenon. The authors consider this technique as related to the nonlinear optical (NLO) polymers. Its key points are as follows.

In the ambient air such discharge is strongly affected by variable humidity and, consequently, uncertain concentration of the predominant charge carrier ((H2O)nH+). To realize a repeatable poling process the composition of discharge atmosphere should be controlled (e.g. for pure nitrogen gas). In the case of discharge in N2 the highly reactive ozone production could be avoided. To obtain second-order nonlinear activity of polymeric materials, a simple point/plane (two-electrode) technique of corona charging is successfully applied, which however does not provide information about the sample surface charge buildup and the efficiency of poling process. To study the dynamics of both the poling and the charge transport processes a three-electrode charging system - the corona triode - should be used.

Chromophore Poling in Thin Films of Organic Glasses. 2. Two-Electrode Corona Discharge Setup

In Part 1 of the article we provided description of the corona discharge physics and overview of the methods used for corona poling in thin organic films. Subsequent sections describe comparatively simple technical methods for poling the organic nonlinear optical polymers using a two-electrode (point-to-plate or wire-to-plate) technique. The polarization build-up was studied by the DC positive corona method for poling the nonlinear optical (NLO) polymers. The experimental setup provides the corona discharge current from 0.5 μA up to 3 μA by applying 3 kV - 12 kV voltage to the corona electrode and makes possible selection among the types of corona electrodes (needle, multi-needle, wire, etc.). The results of experimental testing of the poling setup show that at fixed optimal operational parameters of poling - the sample orientation temperature and the discharge current - the corona charging of polymeric materials can successfully be performed applying the two-electrode technique. To study the dynamics of both poling and charge transport processes the three-electrode charging system - a corona triode - should be applied.


Concentration measurements are important in bioethanol industries, in the R&D areas, for chemical, medical and microbiological analyses and processing as well as for diagnostics, manufacturing, etc. The overview shows development of the structural design of a system for measuring the concentration of solutions and mixtures consisting of two dielectric liquids. The basic principles of the system's design are given along with relevant equations. The concentration of dielectric liquids is measured using devices with capacitive sensors (1-300 pF). The operational frequency of the developed measuring system is 100.000 kHz. Configuration of the system excludes some errors usually arising at measurements, and broadens its applicability. For testing, the system was calibrated for measuring the concentration of anhydrous ethanol + de-ionized water mixture. Experimental results have shown a stable resolution of ±0.005 pF at measuring the sensor capacitance and a reproducible resolution better than ±0.01% at measuring the ethanol volume concentration


Determination of electric potential difference using the Kelvin probe, i.e. vibrating capacitor technique, is one of the most sensitive measuring procedures in surface physics. Periodic modulation of distance between electrodes leads to changes in capacitance, thereby causing current to flow through the external circuit. The procedure of contactless, non-destructive determination of contact potential difference between an electrically conductive vibrating reference electrode and an electrically conductive sample is based on precise control measurement of Kelvin current flowing through a capacitor. The present research is devoted to creation of a new low-cost miniaturised measurement system to determine potential difference in real time and at high measurement resolution. Furthermore, using the electrode of a reference probe, the Kelvin method leads to both the indirect measurement of an electronic work function, or a contact potential of sample, and of a surface potential for insulator type samples.

In the article, the first part of the research, i.e., the basic principles and prerequisites for establishment of such a measurement system are considered.


The present research is devoted to creation of a new low-cost miniaturised measurement system for determination of potential difference in real time and with high measurement resolution. Furthermore, using the electrode of the reference probe, Kelvin method leads to both an indirect measurement of electronic work function or contact potential of the sample and measurement of a surface potential for insulator type samples. The bucking voltage in this system is composite and comprises a periodically variable component. The necessary steps for development of signal processing and tracking are described in detail.


The new optical scheme of refractometer with temperature stabilisation 10−2 °C is developed, which allows measuring a refractive index of the sample with accuracy not worse than 10−5; dependence of refraction index on concentration of SiO2 nanoparticles in liquid suspension is obtained within the framework of the research.

The corona discharge is described focusing on the advantages of corona triode techniques for the direct current (DC) positive poling of optical polymers. The proposed experimental setup allows the corona poling of nonlinear optical (NLO) polymers in the modes of DC constant current (the lowest 1nA) and of the fixed corona-grid voltage, making it possible to carry out the corona-onset poling at elevated temperature (COPET) up to 200 oC. The setup also provides a wide range of the corona discharge voltage (3 kV - 15 kV), variable reciprocal distance of electrodes as well as the possibility to choose from different types of the corona electrode (needle, multi-needle, wire, etc.). By keeping the corona-to-grid voltage constant, a stable corona discharge at electrode is attained. The grid voltage can be varied in the range from 0 to 3kV. The corona poling area on the sample surface is pre-defined by placing ring spacers above it. The setup is completely computerized, allowing both control and monitoring of the corona discharge, which promotes research into the process of charging NLO polymer samples and selection of the optimal poling mode. Using the voltage-current characteristics and the second-harmonic measurements of a poled polymer we also demonstrate the influence of the setup parameters on the efficiency of poling the thin film NLO polymers.


In Part 2 of the work we describe a modified measuring system for precise monitoring of the dehydration process of bioethanol production. This is based on the earlier proposed system for measuring the concentration of solutions and two-liquid mixtures using devices with capacitive sensors (1-300pF), which provides a stable measuring resolution of ± 0.005 pF at measuring the capacitance of a sensor. In this part of our work we determine additional requirements that are to be imposed on the measuring system at monitoring the ethanol dehydration process and control of bioethanol production. The most important parameters of the developed measuring system are identified. An exemplary calculation is given for the thermocompensated calibration of measuring devices. The results of tests have shown a good performance of the developed measuring system.