Molecular breakthrough for plastic electronics

Apr 12, 2005

The potential applications for flexible plastic electronics are enormous -- from electronic books to radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to electronics for cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and laptop computers -- but certain technological hurdles must be overcome before we see such widespread use. Now a Northwestern University team of materials chemists report a breakthrough in the race to find the right materials for producing cost-effective, high-performance plastic electronics. The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The team, led by Tobin J. Marks, Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Chemistry and professor of materials science and engineering, has designed organic molecules that self assemble into an ultra-thin layer (less than six nanometers thick) for use in the dielectric, or nonconducting, component of a transistor. Their tailored molecular components reduce both operating voltage and power consumption in organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) structures, making low-power consumption OTFTs a reality. "This means having plastic electronics the size of a pen battery -- rather than an automobile battery -- power your cell phone," said Marks. "And, instead of being carved out of silicon, transistor structures would be printed in a fashion similar to that of newspapers, but with organic molecules as the ink and plastic as the paper. Much as the New York Times prints a different edition of the newspaper every day, we could flexibly print a wide variety of electronic devices quickly, easily and cheaply." Examples include RFID tags for labeling items in a store or tracking them in a factory. "You could walk up to a cash register at the grocery store," said Marks, "and it would automatically sense what each item costs and whether or not it has passed its expiration date -- all in one step." In their paper, Marks and fellow authors Antonio Facchetti, research professor of chemistry, and Myung-Han Yoon, a graduate student in chemistry, showed that their new nanodielectric multilayers have very high capacitances (the ability to store an electrical charge) and excellent insulating properties and are compatible with a variety of organic semiconductors and substrate materials, the other key components of a transistor. Source: Northwestern University

Explore further: Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bitcoin gets easier for consumers to buy, spend

Apr 11, 2014

It's getting easier for consumers to buy and spend bitcoin, the cybercurrency that has captured much of the tech world. With each passing month, entrepreneurs are rolling out new technology for consumers to buy and store ...

Microplastics make marine worms sick

Dec 02, 2013

Tiny bits of plastic trash could spell big trouble for marine life, starting with the worms, say a team of researchers from Plymouth University and the University of Exeter who report their evidence in a ...

Recommended for you

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

Apr 18, 2014

A significant breakthrough could revolutionize surgical practice and regenerative medicine. A team led by Ludwik Leibler from the Laboratoire Matière Molle et Chimie (CNRS/ESPCI Paris Tech) and Didier Letourneur ...

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance ...

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

Apr 17, 2014

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

(Phys.org) —Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.