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Japanese research seeks flexible semiconductors for see-through displays and e-paper

Lack of speed and durability has presented barriers to the practical use of transparent, flexible see-through displays and electronic paper. But MIT’s Technology Review reports that the Tokyo Institute of Technology may have achieved a breakthrough: transparent semiconductors fabricated with an indium gallium zinc oxide mixture that, when deposited on plastic, is transparent and dramatically outperforms today's plastic transistors.

The material is also easy to manufacture, making it potentially inexpensive and appropriate for large-area electronics like large displays, the report said. It can be applied in a very thin coating to a sheet of plastic at room temperature using an environmentally friendly manufacturing process.

Eventually, this technology could appear in many flexible, lightweight, shock resistant electronics, including flexible displays, electronic paper and wearable computers, according to the researchers, who indicate in the November 25, 2004 issue of Nature that practical applications could hit the market in the next two to four years.

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