Documenting the Coming Singularity

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Self-Assembled Organic Circuits

Technology Review - October 17, 2008, by Prachi Patel-Predd

Molecules that form an ordered layer could lead to low-cost, bendable plastic electronics.

Researchers have found a simple way to make high-performance electronic circuits from organic semiconductors. The advance, reported in this week's Nature, brings us one step closer to low-cost, bendable plastic electronics.

A research team led by Dago de Leeuw at the Philips Research Laboratories, in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, developed semiconductor molecules that automatically arrange themselves on a surface in a layer just a few nanometers thick. These "self-assembling" molecules could make it much easier to fabricate organic transistors, the essential building blocks of plastic electronics. In experiments, the researchers used the technique to make hundreds of transistors and arranged them into complex circuits.

In the past, others have used similar self-assembly tricks to make organic transistors, but the new method is much simpler. Moreover, researchers have been unable to accurately and reliably replicate self-assembled devices until now. "You need every transistor to be working in order for the circuit to work," says John Kymissis, an electrical-engineering professor at Columbia University. "Here, there are hundreds of transistors, all of which work. The yield is extremely good for complicated circuits."

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