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August 25th, 2010
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays are energy-efficient and crisp, but high manufacturing costs have kept them from being as widely available as liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), especially in larger devices such as TVs. A new type of OLED electronics could help bring down manufacturing costs and make the technology much more widely available.
"There is no good solution to make OLED electronics that can be scaled up inexpensively," says Andrew Rinzler, professor of physics at the University of Florida. Rinzler led the work on developing a type of electronics for OLEDs that he hopes will provide such a solution. The work was funded in part by the venture capital firm Nano Holdings.
A less expensive method, developed by Rinzler and colleagues, is to bring the source and drain electrodes of a transistor closer together by stacking components on top of one another instead of side by side. Rinzler made these transistors by depositing a thin film of aluminum oxide on a glass substrate as the drain electrode, then adding a layer of an organic semiconducting molecule as a channel. Next he added a dilute layer of carbon nanotubes as the source electrode, then a layer of gold as an electrical contact. Each of these films is very thin, enabling good performance without the need for high-resolution lithography techniques, says Rinzler.
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