Visualization of mechanical loads with semiconductor nanocrystals 

Martin Moebius1, Joerg Martin2*, Melinda Hartwig1, Ricardo Decker1, Lothar Kroll1, 3, Reinhard R. Baumann1, 2, Thomas Otto1, 2 

1Technische Universität Chemnitz, Chemnitz, 09126, Germany

2Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems, Chemnitz, 09126, Germany

3Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology, Chemnitz, 09126, Germany

Adv. Mater. Lett., 2019, 10 (6), pp 391-394

DOI: 10.5185/amlett.2019.2221

Publication Date (Web): Jan 14, 2019



Fibre-reinforced plastics offer excellent mechanical properties at low weight. Hence, such materials are ideally suited to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emission, e.g. in aircraft and automotive engineering, shipbuilding or in the field of renewable energies. However, in contrast to e.g. metals, lightweight structures are sensitive to mechanical loads exceeding a certain approved range. In order to detect mechanical overloads at an early stage and to avoid consequential failures in lightweight structures, we recently proposed a novel concept of a thin-film sensor for visualization of mechanical loads by using photoluminescence quenching of quantum dots. Here, we present results according to the optimization of the ionization efficiency of the cadmium selenide quantum dots by using poly(N-vinylkarbazol)(PVK) as charge transport material with favorable energy levels. Measurements of the photoluminescence intensity and electrical power confirm an increase of efficiency with almost the same photoluminescence drop compared to N,N,N′,N′-Tetrakis(3-methylphenyl)-3,3′-dimethyl-benzidine (HMTPD), most likely by the higher valence band offset between quantum dots and PVK. Furthermore, an integration of a layer stack with connected ceramic piezoelectric transducer demonstrates the successful use of the sensor system for mechanical load detection in lightweight structures. 


Structural health monitoring, lightweight structures, photoluminescence, quantum dots.

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