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ORNL researchers move closer to plastic chip process

Posted: 23 Jul 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:silicon  organic semiconductors 

Researchers at the US Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory claim to have demonstrated epitaxial growth in polymers, foreshadowing a plastic chip process that could combine the high speed of silicon with the low cost of plastic.

Amorphous, poly- and crystalline silicon differ in the organisation of their atomic lattices; the more organised, the higher the performance. Epitaxial silicon, with its perfect crystalline lattices, is required for high-end chips. Until now, such performance was unavailable for organic semiconductors.

The conductive polymer called Pedot (polythiophene) is already widely used in LEDs, displays and solar cells, but not in a crystalline form. Oak Ridge researchers said demonstrating epitaxial growth of Pedot will lead to improved, inexpensive organic semiconductors with much better energy efficiency and performance.

To create its epitaxial Pedot, the researchers patterned a crystalline copper surface. The copper template enforced the perfect alignment of the Pedot atoms on the template. After a first seed layer was formed, the subsequent layers grew perfectly above them. The researchers predicted that the technique also could be applied to other organic semiconductors.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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