Xerox plans printable plastic transistors

Xerox has a new material that allows the creation of "printed" plastic transistors, a breakthrough that could lead to a new generation of cheap and lightweight displays. The new technology could lead to portable, poster-like television screens and monitors made of a single sheet of flexible plastic.

Last week, Xerox unveiled a new experimental polymer that can be used to make organic transistors on a plastic substrate. The breakthrough was described in a paper at the Materials Research Conference in Boston; presented by Beng Ong, a researcher at Xerox Research Center of Canada.

In addition to being cheaper and easier to manufacture, the new materials could lead to laptop computers, cell phones and other devices with displays that won't break when dropped.

Earlier attempts at manufacturing organic semiconductors failed after showing signs of decay when exposed to air. The new Xerox material, called polythiophene, possesses the electronic properties of silicon while being resilient to the effects of exposure to oxygen.

Xerox envisions a new electronics manufacturing process on roll-to-roll machinery, which is now used in publishing and in the manufacturing of solar cells. Under a National Institute of Standards and Technology grant, scientists from XRCC and the Palo Alto Research Center, a subsidiary of Xerox in Palo Alto, Calif., are collaborating with teams at Motorola Labs and Dow Chemical to "develop novel organic electronic materials and processing technologies enable the fabrication of large-area electronic devices, such as displays, using relatively inexpensive printing technologies in lieu of semiconductor lithography."

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