Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Printable Silicon For Ultrahigh Performance Flexible Electronic Systems

18.06.2004


By carving specks of single crystal silicon from a bulk wafer and casting them onto sheets of plastic, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a route to ultrahigh performance, mechanically flexible thin-film transistors. The process could enable new applications in consumer electronics - such as inexpensive wall-to-wall displays and intelligent but disposable radio frequency identification tags - and could even be used in applications that require significant computing power.

"Conventional silicon devices are limited by the size of the silicon wafer, which is typically less than 12 inches in diameter," said John Rogers, a professor of materials science and engineering and co-author of a paper to appear in the June 28 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters. "Instead of making the wafer bigger and costlier, we want to slice up the wafer and disperse it in such a way that we can then place pieces where we need them on large, low-cost substrates such as flexible plastics."

This approach has important advantages compared with paths for similar devices that use organic molecules for the semiconductor. Single-crystal silicon has extremely good electrical properties (roughly 1,000 times better than known organics) and its reliability and materials properties are well known from decades of research in silicon microelectronics.



To demonstrate the technique, Rogers and his colleagues fabricated single-crystal, microstructured silicon objects from wafers using conventional lithographic patterning and etching processes. The processing sequence generated objects of various shapes as small as 50 nanometers on a side. The researchers then used two approaches for transferring the objects to substrates to create high performance, thin-film transistors.

"In one approach, we used procedures that exploit high-resolution rubber stamps for transfer printing," said co-author Ralph Nuzzo, a professor of chemistry and director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory on the U. of I. campus. "In the other approach, the objects were dispersed in a solvent and then cast using solution-based printing techniques."

Both approaches can be implemented in a manufacturing environment, and would scale nicely to large-area formats, Nuzzo said. Separating the processing of the silicon from the fabrication of other transistor components enables the devices to be integrated with a wide range of material types, including low-cost plastics.

Fabricating circuits by continuous, high-speed printing techniques could offer different capabilities than can be achieved with existing silicon technologies, Rogers said. "We can think in terms of unconventional electronics - putting devices in places where standard silicon chips can’t go due to expense or geometry."

Not only could huge, wall-sized displays be built at far less cost, components could be printed on the insides of windshields and other non-flat surfaces. While current fabrication techniques favor flat chips, printing-based methods remove that constraint.

"Another aspect of low-cost electronic printing is embedding information technology into places where it didn’t exist before," Nuzzo said. "By inserting electronic intelligence into everyday items, we could exchange information and communicate in exciting new ways."

An example, he said, would be low-cost radio frequency identification tags that could take the place of ordinary product bar codes. Such tags could ease congestion in supermarket checkout lines and help busy homemakers maintain shopping lists.

"You can let your imagination run wild," Nuzzo said. "The functionality of an electronic circuit doesn’t have to be wired to a chip - it can be integrated into the architecture itself."

In addition to Nuzzo and Rogers, co-authors of the paper were visiting scholar Etienne Menard, postdoctoral researcher Dahl-Young Khang and graduate student Keon-Jae Lee. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy funded the work.

| University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene
19.09.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>