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Cambridge researchers claim plastic electronics breakthrough

A breakthrough by researchers at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory is being hailed as laying the foundation for the creation of plastic electronic circuits that are fast, flexible and have low power consumption – as well as being cheap and relatively straightforward to produce. Physicists Dr Auke Kronemeijer and Dr Enrico Gili, working in the Cambridge team led by Professor Henning Sirringhaus, have developed a technology based on solution processed organic semiconductors that will find a wide range of applications in everyday life – from radio frequency identification tags on supermarket packaging to transparent displays embedded in car windscreens.

Dr Kronemeijer said: "Our research shows that it's possible to produce electronic circuits using a new class of ambipolar organic materials that simplify the fabrication process considerably compared with more traditional materials.
"Typically, to fabricate high performance plastic electronic circuits you need two different active materials. Our technology obtains the same result using only one material. This is an ink that can be printed and requires little more than room temperature to reach its peak performance. The robustness and flexibility of our new material opens up the possibility for developing all kinds of intelligent products such as clothing items that interact with their wearer."
According to the researchers, the circuits they have developed operate at a 'few hundred KHz' and can be powered from a standard 9V battery. However, they believe power consumption can be further reduced to make this technology suitable for use in ubiquitous electronic devices incorporating printed power supplies.

Author
Graham Pitcher

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