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The Future is flexible

Organic materials can be deposited into thin films using soft processing, including various printing techniques (ink-jet priting, screen printing) and vapor phase deposition. The low temperature of these processes allows for the design and fabrication of devices on highly flexible substrates that can lead to new shatterproof products with light-weight and unprecedented form factors. Examples of such innovations include new displays based on organic light-emitting diode technologies or that can be rolled up and down, and ultra-thin plastic solar cells to power portable digital assistants.

Source: Scientific American

Current electronic chips are fabricated on silicon wafers using advanced lithography techniques. By increasing the resolution of the patterning of the materials that define active and passive components such as transistors, the functionality and the number of circuits per unit area has increased steadily during the past decades. This technological evolution is called Moore's law and has enabled the electronics industry to produce chips with lower cost and increased functionality. In applications that require large areas, such as drivers for ever increasing displays, or solar cells to harvest optical power provided by the sun, integration does not always provide a path to products with lower cost. This is where organic electronic technologies can make a difference. Printing of inks with conductive, dielectric, and semiconducting properties can potentially lead to large-area device at low cost.

To picture the ultimate potential of these organic technologies, imagine an engineer designing plastic chips on his desktop computer, simulating their electrical performance with existing software tools, and then hitting the print key to fabricate these circuits on a plastic foil with his organic electronic ink-jet printer. Likewise, imagine a roll-to-roll process inspired from current technologies used to print newspapers that would spill-out square miles of smart cards or plastic solar cells at ultra-low cost.



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