Research explores applications for new field of electronics

Mar 07, 2012 by Anne M Stark
Visualization of the probability of finding an excited electron in zinc-oxide in the vicinity of the hole (indicated by the black dot). In order to understand the exciton in this transparent conducting oxide (TCO), the hole is assumed to be localized at an oxygen atom.

(PhysOrg.com) -- By looking at the way electrons are excited, researchers can gain a better understanding of the new field of transparent electronics.

Postdoc Andre Schleife, who works in the Lab's Quantum Simulations Group, developed a new approach to investigate the interplay of excitonic effects and electron doping. (In semiconductor production, doping intentionally introduces impurities into an extremely pure semiconductor for the purpose of modulating its electrical properties).

These interactions are critical to learning more about transparent conducting oxides (TCOs), which are used in a range of fields including green-energy, intelligent materials or flexible and . Companies like GM, for instance, are currently exploring possible applications for TCOs, such as back seat passenger windows for cars that are displays at the same time. These displays could be used to entertain (games, movies, etc) back seat passengers and also display information about the environment or the city you are driving in.

"Successfully exploiting and eventually tailoring the properties of these unique materials would be analogous to creating 'transparent gold' with a plethora of technical applications," Schleife said. Excitons are the most important pair that occur in several optical spectroscopies of non-metals and molecules and dominate the absorption properties of the TCOs.

While the TCOs are transparent in the visible spectral range (due to large fundamental band gaps), they have to be doped (intentionally or unintentionally) to be conductive. In other words, doping of a semiconductor introduces a large number of and, therefore, leads to high conductivity.

The field of optoelectronics is expected to continue its rapid growth in the future, driven by the demand for efficient photovoltaics or for high-bandwidth .

"The effect of these free carriers on the optical properties is widely unknown," Schleife said. "Dramatic changes are expected in the spectral region, which is the most interesting for applications."

Other researchers include those from Friedrich-Schiller-Universität in Germany and the European Theoretical Spectroscopy Facility.

The paper appears in Physical Review Letters.

Explore further: Thermoelectric power plants could offer economically competitive renewable energy

More information: prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v107/i23/e236405

Related Stories

'Nanocrystal doping' enhances semiconductor nanocrystals

Apr 04, 2011

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have achieved a breakthrough in the field of nanoscience by successfully altering nanocrystal properties with impurity atoms -- a process called doping – ...

Toward 'invisible electronics' and transparent displays

Feb 05, 2009

Researchers in California are reporting an advance toward the long-sought goal of "invisible electronics" and transparent displays, which can be highly desirable for heads-up displays, wind-shield displays, and electronic ...

Conducting energy on a nano scale

Jul 15, 2011

Modern electronics as we know them, from televisions to computers, depend on conducting materials that can control electronic properties. As technology shrinks down to pocket sized communications devices and microchips that ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.