A sensitive electrochemical impedance spectroscopy method for detection of polyimide degradation by microorganisms

J. G. Gu, S. P. Cheng, J. Liu, J. D. Gu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


An electrochemical inpedence spectroscopy (EIS) technique was evaluated for monitoring microbial degradation of electronic packaging polyimides. The microbial inoculum was a mixed culture of fungi isolated previously from deteriorated polyimides. The active fungal consortium comprised Aspergillus versicolor. Cladosporium cladosporioides, and a Chaetomium species. After inoculation, fungal growth on the polyimides resulted in distinctive EIS spectra indicative of polymer insulation failure, which directly related to polymer integrity. Degradation appeared to occur in a number of steps and two distinctive stages in the decline of film resistance were observed in the inoculated EIS cells within the 2 and 10 weeks after inoculation. The early stage of resistance decrease may be related to the ingress of water molecules and ionic species into the polymeric materials, whereas the second stage probably resulted from partial degradation of the polymers by fungal growth on the polymer film. The relationship between changes of impedance spectra and microbial degradation of the polymer was further supported by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations of fungi growing on the surface of the inoculated polyimides. Our data indicate that the EIS can be used in detection of early degradation of resistant polymers and polyimides that are susceptible to biodeterioration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Polymers and the Environment
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • Biodeterioration
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • Electronic insulation
  • Fungi
  • Polyimides


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