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See-through, organic transistors are 'world's fastest'

See-through, organic transistors are 'world's fastest'

Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln claim they have created the world's fastest organic transistors, using an advanced new production process.

The team said that its work, which was published in the journal Nature Communications this week, shows that it's theoretically possible to use organics for demanding applications like high-def TV screens.

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Compared to the silicon-based technologies used to create today's electronics, the researchers said, organic transistors should be far less expensive to produce, with the added advantage that they can be made essentially transparent. The problem, until now, has always been that the organic transistors couldn't match the performance of standard silicon limiting their ability to supplant current technologies in the device market.

The Stanford and UNL researchers, however, said that they have achieved a major breakthrough on that score, and that their new organic transistors are "comparable" to modern silicon in performance, and far in excess of previous organic semiconductors. The trick, it turns out, was a pair of tweaks to the production process of the circuits.

Organic transistors are produced by dripping a solution of carbon-rich molecules and plastic onto a rapidly spinning medium, spreading the solution thinly and evenly. The researchers tweaked the process by upping the speed at which the medium (a glass platter) was spun, and coating it only partially. This, they said, resulted in a more regular alignment of the molecules and, consequently, better conductivity.

The process, which the team dubbed off-center spin coating, could eventually allow for the production of cheap, transparent electronic devices. It currently remains a purely experimental technology, however.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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