Feature Ready Technologies to Look Out For In 2017

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Researchers achieve breakthrough in flexible electronics

Semiconductors are the very basic components of electronic devices, and these have improved our lives in many ways. These can be found in lighting, displays, solar modules and microprocessors that are installed in almost all modern-day devices, from mobile phones, washing machines and cars, to the emerging Internet of Things.

Dr Png Rui-Qi (left), Mervin Ang (middle) and Cindy Tang (right) working on conducting polymers that can provide unprecedented ohmic contacts for better performance in a wide range of organic semiconductor devices (Image courtesy: www.newelectronics.co.uk)

To make high-performance devices, however, good ohmic contacts with low electrical resistances are required to allow the maximum current to flow both ways between the electrode and the semiconductor layers. A team of scientists from National University of Singapore has successfully developed conducting polymer films that can provide unprecedented ohmic contacts to give superior performance in plastic electronics, including organic light-emitting diodes, solar cells and transistors.

The researchers discovered how to design polymer films with the desired extreme work functions needed to generally make ohmic contacts. Work function is the minimum amount of energy needed to liberate an electron from the film surface into vacuum. They showed that work functions as high as 5.8 electron-volts and as low as 3.0 electron-volts can now be attained for films that can be processed from solutions at low cost.

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