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Organic Transistors Speed Up

Experimental single-crystal devices overcome fabrication problem

4 min read

3 December 2003--Engineers working with organic electronics dream of cheap, ubiquitous carbon-based circuits printed on plastic sheets. But for that to happen, scientists must find a way to get current to flow faster in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs). Now, two groups have tweaked the manufacturing process of single-crystal OFETs to boost their switching speeds.

At present, organic semiconductors don't measure up to their inorganic counterparts, notably silicon. Mainly that's because of their low charge carrier mobility: the electrons or holes typically move three orders of magnitude more slowly than the charge in inorganics. It's a drawback that severely limits the currents that devices can switch, as well as the frequency at which they can operate, observes Moritz Sokolowski, a physical chemist at the University of Bonn in Germany.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic

Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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