Researchers at Wake Forest University’s Organic Electronics group developed a high performance organic semiconductor ‘spray paint’ that can be applied to large surface areas without losing electric conductivity. This is a potentially game changing technology for a number of reasons.
Organic thin film transistors are currently deposited by one of three methods. Drop casting and spin coating conduct electricity well but are limited to small area applications. They could not be used to make a wall-sized, flexible video screen for instance. On the other hand, organic spray-on techniques can be applied to large areas but have poor performance when compared to their small-area counterparts.
The work by Oana Jurchescu, an assistant professor of physics, along with the research team, provides the best of both worlds. The spray-deposition technology developed in her lab produced the highest performance organic thin film transistors for this method to date (2 April 2013) comparable to those of drop casting and spin coating. Unlike drop casting and spin coating, her spray-deposition technology can be applied over large surfaces to any medium-from plastic and metal to human skin.
The research was published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Because of its superb performance and the fact it can be applied over large areas quickly (it is also inexpensive to process compared to inorganic semiconducting materials like silicon), it has the potential to be produced in commercial quantities. The technology is a big step towards realising futuristic devices such as transparent solar cells on building windows, car roof and bus stations, electronic displays in previously inaccessible spaces and wearable electronics due to the organic plastics’ thin, lightweight and conformal nature.