Printable inorganic compounds, notably those based on zinc oxide, can have excellent semiconducting properties even when amorphous and they can be fully transparent. For example, they promise higher frequency performance than organic transistors and they could even go on the face of a wristwatch without being seen. Better thermal performance is also in prospect and start up 3T Technologies in the UK, which seeks to exploit inorganic compound transistors in collaboration with Cambridge University in the UK, sees the following high growth applications:
There are now five other major collaborations across the world seeking to exploit these exciting possibilities and new universities and companies join the quest for inorganic compound transistors all the time. For example, beyond the six major collaborations, each involving a university and one or two industrial organizations, Matsushita, Eastman Kodak, LG Electronics, ETH Zurich, ETRI Korea, IBM and National Taiwan University are doing major work. This even extends to UV light emitting transistors and UV sensors and other interesting devices that will be printed. Although zinc oxide can be modified from semi-metal to semiconductor and dielectric, it is traditionally seen as an n type semiconductor. However, printable p type zinc oxide is now also in prospect.
A good indication of the thrust of this work can be obtained from the titles of papers delivered in 2007, such as:
"Is the future of TFTs transparent?" CENIMAT-FCT/UNL.
"Transparent electronics - display applications?" Oregon State University.
"A 3.5 inch Q CIF & AMOLED panel based on an oxide TFT backplane," LG Electronics, Korea.
"Transparent amorphous oxide semiconductors for high performance TFTs," Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan.
"Top and bottom gate amorphous ZnO transparent TFTs fabricated by all etching processes," National Taiwan University.
"Solution processed zinc oxide TFTs," Eastman Kodak, USA.
"High performance zinc oxide transistors by an ambient process," Eastman Kodak, USA.
"Improvement in stability in ZnO TFTs under bias stress," ETRI Daejon, Korea.
"SPICE simulation of integrated circuits based on amorphous In-Ga-Zn-O TFTs," Canon and Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan.
"Oxide semiconductors for low temperature TFTs," Tokyo Institute of Technology.
For more read Inorganic Printed and Thin Film Electronics
Attend Printed Electronics USA.
IDTechEx scopes the research programs, patents and other aspects of the inorganic route and we can carry out specific investigations, including potential licenses, acquisitions, partnership and sources of finance. Contact Dr Peter Harrop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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