Saturday, December 23, 2006

'Invisible' Transistors Developed

Futuristic "invisible" electronics may appear sooner rather than later, thanks to U.S. researchers developing transparent, high-performance transistors.

The transistors can be assembled inexpensively on glass and plastic, creating high quality displays on car windshields, goggles or billboards, the Northwestern University researchers said.

Developing new types of displays powered by electronics without visible wires has been going on for years. But no one could develop materials for transistors that could both be "invisible" and maintain a high level of performance, the university said in a news release.

"Our development provides new strategies for creating transparent electronics," said Tobin J. Marks, professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern, who led the research. "You can imagine a variety of applications for new electronics that haven't been possible previously -- imagine displays of text or images that would seem to be floating in space."

To create the transistors, Marks' team combined films of the inorganic semiconductor indium oxide with a layer of self-assembling organic molecules that provides insulation. The films can be fabricated at room temperature, allowing the transistors to be produced at a low cost.


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