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Invisible Electronics

Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) researchers have combined organic and inorganic materials to produce prototype transparent, high-performance transistors that can be assembled inexpensively on both glass and plastics. To create the thin-film transistors, the Northwestern group combined films of the inorganic semiconductor indium oxide with a multilayer of self-assembling organic molecules that provides insulation. The indium oxide films can be fabricated at room temperature, allowing the transistors to be produced at low cost. In addition to being transparent, the transistors outperform silicon transistors currently used in liquid crystal display (LCD) screens and perform nearly as well as high-end polysilicon transistors.

High-performance, transparent transistors could be combined with existing kinds of light display technologies, such as organic light-emitting diodes (LEDs), LCDs, and electroluminescent displays, which are already used in televisions, desktop and laptop computers, and cell phones. Prototype displays using these transistors could be available in 12 to 18 months.

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