PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER MENZEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Applications of multilayer technology. A researcher holds a disc composed of 2500 alternating layers of copper and a copper/ zirconium alloy. Behind him is part of the plasma coating machine used to make it. Each copper layer is 350 angstroms thick, and each alloy layer is 50 angstroms thick (1 angstrom = 1 ten-billionth of a metre). The resulting foil is 0.1mm thick. This new material has over five times the strength of pure copper, and is highly resistant to corrosion. It has replaced a copper/beryllium alloy because beryllium is toxic. One use for this material would be in diaphragms in pressure sensors for operation in highly corrosive environments.
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