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      Developing an innovative organic semiconducting molecular system to drive the next generation of high-performance, extremely low-cost, wearable and flexible electronics


      Science Impact, Ltd.

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          Researchers at the University of Tokyo are developing an innovative organic semiconducting molecular system to drive the next generation of high-performance, extremely low-cost, wearable and flexible electronics. The shift from devices built with inorganic materials like silicon to organic building blocks composed of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen or oxygen atoms offers many practical benefits. Molecules are the smallest stable structures known and therefore offer a huge reduction in size compared to traditional building methods. Differences between organic and inorganic electronics offer avenues for the development of other types of semiconductor applications. The fabrication of high-performance organic devices is also much simpler. Organic semiconductors can be fabricated via a simple printing process that has had a dramatic impact on the ability to manufacture low-cost, environmentally-friendly electronic devices. The printing process is also operable even at room temperature, decreasing costs and energy usage, and when combined with the ability to be processed as polymers or polymer films, allows the devices to be easily integrated into a variety of flexible plastic substrates. This integration offers a compelling avenue to design new malleable devices and technologies such as wearable and flexible electronics. These properties all stem from the weak chemical bonds holding the molecules together, such as van der Waals interactions. While these interactions are the basis behind the impressive potential of organic electronics, they also need to be better understood. The response of inorganic materials to the stresses of various applications is quite well known. For example, the influence of compressive strain on charge transport in inorganic devices is well understood. How strain affects the molecular bonds of organic-based devices and results in changes to structure and performance is more of a mystery. This is the area in which Okamoto and colleagues operate. They are not only developing better fabrication methods but also testing the responses of the new materials to the stresses they will need to overcome in order to become practical alternatives to existing semiconductors. Okamoto is taking a unique approach to the development of organic semiconductors in that he is investigating organic devices based on bent-shaped ?-electron cores, whereas most other researchers work with linear or quasi-linear ?-electron cores. Put very simply, this refers to the arrangements of the molecules in the device and whether these occur in a line or bent into different shapes such as a V, W, N or zig-zag shape. These different shapes, according to results from Okamoto’s experiments, show greater promise for performance in areas like thermal stability and response to strain. In fact, results recently published in Nature Communications indicate that the unique response of bent-shaped ?-cores to strain at similar levels observed in the fabrication process may be exploited to build high-performance electronic devices.

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          Science Impact, Ltd.
          December 12 2018
          December 12 2018
          : 2018
          : 9
          : 6-8
          © 2018

          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

          Earth & Environmental sciences, Medicine, Computer science, Agriculture, Engineering


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