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ERIC Number: EJ1159643
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jul
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Studying Electrical Conductivity Using a 3D Printed Four-Point Probe Station
Lu, Yang; Santino, Luciano M.; Acharya, Shinjita; Anandarajah, Hari; D'Arcy, Julio M.
Journal of Chemical Education, v94 n7 p950-955 2017 Jul 2017
The design and fabrication of functional scientific instrumentation allows students to forge a link between commonly reported numbers and physical material properties. Here, a two-point and four-point probe station for measuring electrical properties of solid materials is fabricated via 3D printing utilizing an inexpensive benchtop fused-deposition modeling system and designed by standard computer-aided design software. Stainless steel tapestry needles serve as probes for contacting a sample; these are also electroplated in order to study their electrical performance, and provide a framework for discussion of electrical charge transport, contact resistance, and conductivity in materials. A microcontroller board is integrated into the probe and controlled using open-source software. Our robust and simple design provides an instrument that is easily fabricated by students and readily applied to a wide range of classroom settings focused on materials science, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as solid-state physics and chemistry. This 3D printed probe station costs less than $100 US in materials per unit excluding source meter. We demonstrate that two- and four-point resistance measurements carried out on a solid-state semiconductor differ only by less than 5% in magnitude when compared to data collected using a standard and expensive commercial probe station. Two- and four-point resistance measurements carried out on gold deposited on silicon and on the soft nanostructured organic semiconductor poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) result in reproducible and accurate current versus voltage (I-V) curves.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A