Organic Semiconductor Breakthrough Could Speed Flexible Circuits

An Illinois company says it has made the first practical complementary polymer circuits

3 min read

21 January 2009—Researchers at Polyera Corp., of Skokie, Ill., say they’ve invented a new polymer that closes an important gap in the field of printing electronics on plastic. The polymer is an organic semiconductor that, unlike other such materials, conducts electrons, they report today in the online version of the journal Nature . Together with existing polymer semiconductors, the new material was used to print complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuits, the type that make up today’s silicon logic.

Although there are already polymer semiconductors that allow the printing of simple electronic circuits, for efficient flexible display screens or complex radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, manufacturers need to be able to print semiconductors that are p -type—conducting positive charge carriers, or holes—and n -type, which use negative charge carriers, or electrons. The combination of the two generally makes for more power-efficient digital circuits because current should flow through them only when their bits are flipping.

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The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions

What will the device be like on its 100th anniversary?

4 min read
Six men and a woman smiling.

The luminaries who dared predict the future of the transistor for IEEE Spectrum include: [clockwise from left] Gabriel Loh, Sri Samavedam, Sayeef Salahuddin, Richard Schultz, Suman Datta, Tsu-Jae King Liu, and H.-S. Philip Wong.

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The 100th anniversary of the invention of the transistor will happen in 2047. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

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