IBM researchers believe they are on the verge of revolutionising future computer components such as screens by creating a hybrid semiconducting material made of organic and inorganic matter for use in transistors.
Big Blue claims the new material will combine the benefits of an inorganic semiconductor that can conduct electricity and those of organic material that can be used to modulate structures.
Today's transistors are made of inorganic materials that have to be processed at very high temperatures and so have to be placed onto hard, unmeltable surfaces.
But the researchers said it would be possible to use the new semiconducting material for thin film field effect transistors (TFTs), which are similar in mobility to the amorphous silicon used in today's computer screens, in display and storage technologies
Examples of potential applications include active matrix organic light emitting diodes and low cost data storage devices.
Cherie Kagan, lead researcher on the project, also claimed that users might see a computer screen that could be rolled up in future. This could lead to electronic newspapers and magazines that could be folded and tucked into a briefcase or to big computer screens that could unfold from cellular phones or other handheld devices.
The new hybrid transistors are manufactured with what the researchers call "cheap, low temperature techniques" that could open the door to volume production. The materials "self assemble," crystallising from a liquid solution at low temperatures to form alternating organic and inorganic layers of material, thinner than a human hair, that have semiconducting properties.
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