Integration of triboluminescent EuD4TEA crystals to transparent polymers: Impact sensor application
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Lanthanide-based organometallic materials are well-known candidate triboluminescent (TL) materials that can show bright emission when a mechanical force is applied. These materials are usually in the form of crystalline powders, and it is often useful to integrate these samples into a polymer matrix in order to achieve processability, enabling coating from a solution/molten state or fabrication as a complex-shaped matrix. In this work, micrometer-sized europium tetrakis (dibenzoylmethide) triethylammonium (EuD4TEA) crystals were synthesized and integrated with various transparent polymers (PMMA, PS, PVDF, and PU) using two approaches: (i) blending and (ii) surface impregnation. In the former method, the crystalline particles were molecularly dissolved; therefore, a TL response cannot be achieved. More than 10 wt % TL crystals in the composite is needed to obtain TL signals. However, TL signal was achieved at 2.5 wt % when a composite was prepared by the latter approach. TL intensity shows exponential decay with consecutive mechanical action. The TL emission of PU-based surface impregnated composite expires with long-lived emission, and maximum TL response with respect to applied force was measured between 2.45 and 42.0 N.