Tailored conductivity in ion implanted polyetheretherketone


Ion implantation can be used to confer electrical conductivity upon conventional insulating polymers such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK). We have implanted PEEK films using three different types of ion implantation: conventional inert gas and metal ion implantation, and ion beam mixing. We have applied a number of analytical techniques to compare the chemical, structural and electrical properties of these films. The most effective means of increasing electrical conductivity appears to be via ion beam mixing of metals into the polymer, followed by metal ion implantation and finally, inert gas ion implantation. Our results suggest that in all cases, the conducting region corresponds to the implanted layer in the near surface to a depth of ∼750Å (ion beam mixed) to ∼5000Å (metal ion). This latter value is significantly higher than would be expected from a purely ballistic standpoint, and can only be attributed to thermal inter-diffusion. Our data also indicates that graphitic carbon is formed within the implant region by chain scission and subsequent cross-linking. All ion implanted samples retained their bulk mechanical properties, i.e. they remained flexible. The implant layers showed no signs of de-lamination. We believe this to be the first comparative study between different implantation techniques, and our results support the proposition that soft electronic circuitry and devices can be created by conductivity engineering with ion beams. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

Document Type





Conductivity, Ion beam mixing, Ion implantation, Polyetheretherketone, TEM, XPS

Publication Date


Journal Title

Synthetic Metals