Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Electronics engineer predicts fantastic plastic future

29.03.2007
An engineer from The University of Manchester who is pushing boundaries in the field of nanotechnology has been recognised with a prestigious award.

Professor Aimin Song from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) is one of only eight people to receive a 2007 Brian Mercer Feasibility Award from the Royal Society.

The £30,000 award will assist Professor Song in his efforts to push the processing speed of plastic components way beyond what has previously been achieved.

Plastic electronics arguably came to real prominence after three scientists won the 2000 Nobel Prize for their contribution to the discovery and development of conductive polymer plastics.

The technology opens up the possibility for very flexible, high-tech devices – such as information screens that you can roll up and put in your pocket – being developed.

But while the rise of plastic electronics has brought potential, it has also brought some problems; conventional multi-layered transistors made from polymer plastics offer relatively slow conductivity speeds and involve a complex and costly manufacturing process.

With support and funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Professor Song has pioneered a way to make single-layered planar plastic transistors and diodes using a fast and simple printing technique.

Professor Song is confident he can push the speed of his organic plastic semiconductors to around 100Mhz – way beyond the 20 Megahertz (Mhz) he has so far achieved.

In the past, multi-layered transistors made from plastic have generally worked at Kilohertz (KHz) speeds or below.

Plastic components such as semiconductors and diodes could be used to create drivers for flexible displays, Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFIDs) and intelligent disposable sensors.

Professor Song believes this could ultimately lead to the production of information displays that can be rolled up and put into your pocket, and also changeable electronic wallpaper.

Other potential applications include intelligent tickets for public transport systems or road charging schemes and electronic stamps for letters and packages.

Due to the high level of commercial interest in Professor Song’s breakthrough technology, he has formed a company called Plastic ePrint Ltd with support form The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Ltd (UMIP).

The firm is now seeking venture capital funding and is also working on creating demonstration versions of plastic radio frequency (RF) smart cards and developing plastic components for use in flexible displays.

Professor Song, who works in the Microelectronics and Nanostructures group at The University, said: “In the film The Graduate, the character played by Dustin Hoffman is famously advised that the future is plastics. From many points of view, this prediction is quite true and I think that plastics will bring a revolution for the second time in history.

“The components we have developed are simpler and potentially much cheaper to produce and much faster than previous organic electronic devices.

“These advantages come from the simplicity of the single layer, planar structures, rather than the multi-layer vertical structures of conventional semiconductor devices.

“There is still much work to be done, and this prestigious award will help us continue to drive our work forward. However, I am confident the development of plastic electronics will lead to a new-generation of exciting products coming into our everyday lives.”

Dr Richard Price from UMIP said: “Professor Song’s technology has the potential to be at the cornerstone of the plastic electronics revolution – the nanodevices are so simple, yet extremely elegant.

“Initial applications will have relatively modest functionality in comparison to today’s silicon technology, but as materials and processes continue to develop there should be no reason why high-performance products cannot be realised in the future.”

Professor Song is one of two academics from The University of Manchester to receive a Brian Mercer Feasibility Award this year.

Professor Andre Geim from The School of Physics and Astronomy also received the honour for his discovery and development of two-dimensional materials – including graphene – that are only one atom thick.

Jon Keighren | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/eps
http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Snake-inspired robot uses kirigami to move
22.02.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht Camera technology in vehicles: Low-latency image data compression
22.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>