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Stanford-Led Research Helps Overcome Barrier For Organic Electronics

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organic semiconductor crystals

Stanford researchers used engineered organic semiconductor crystals such as these to study the effects of current flow in thin film transistors. Their work could inform the design of digital displays and flexible electronics.

Credit: Standord University

Stanford University researchers have determined why some transistors made of organic crystals do not allow electricity to flow through them as easily as other electronics, a discovery that will help make organic electronics better. The researchers have shown that the way boundaries between individual crystals are aligned can make a 70-fold difference in how easily electrical charges can pass through transistors.

Although organic semiconductors could greatly benefit the electronics industry, performance from transistor to transistor is far more inconsistent than in silicon-based chips. The researchers found that the "grain" boundaries between crystals can cause the path that electrical charges must flow through to be extremely inefficient, often zigzagging back and forth. To test the importance of the boundary alignment, the researchers grew crystals of an organic semiconductor using a process that ensured consistent alignment from crystal to crystal in a uniform direction. The researchers then made transistors in which charges could flow through molecules that were well aligned, and others in which the molecules were misaligned, and found that the well-aligned transistors performed far better.

"By better understanding what goes on at these boundaries, and how detrimental they are, improvements can be made at the chemistry end as well as at the design and fabrication end of the process," says Stanford graduate student Jonathan Rivnay. "This way devices can be more reproducible and better performing."

From Stanford University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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