Shedding Light On Organic Transistors

Insights could lead to brighter and cheaper displays

4 min read

The first single-crystal organic transistor that can be switched on and off by light is giving physicists a unique peek into the way photons interact with organic semiconductors. The new device could have a major impact on the way organic light-emitting displays are manufactured and may lead to a new generation of high-quality flexible color displays.

The development is emblematic of a renaissance in the field of single-crystal organic-transistor research, which almost collapsed in September 2002, when it hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. One of the field's rising stars, a young researcher at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., named Jan Hendrik Schon, was found to have falsified the results of groundbreaking organic transistor experiments.

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