Antonio Facchetti, Polyera Corporation
Transparent electronics is a disruptive technology aiming at producing “invisible” electronic circuits and devices. Applications include consumer electronics and transportation. For example, automobile windshields could transmit visual information. Glass in almost any setting could also double as an electronic device, possibly improving security systems or transparent displays. As for the conventional Si/GaAs electronics, the basic circuit structure is based on the thin-film transistor. However, the transistor material component, the semiconductor, the dielectric, and the conductor, must now be transparent in the visible—a true grand challenge! Therefore, the first scientific goal is to discover, understand, and implement high-performance transparent materials. Since optical transparency in the visible spectrum requires materials with bandgaps (energy gaps) 900 nm, key scientific questions arise as whether transparent materials performing so different electronic functions efficiently could ever been found. This is particularly challenging for the semiconductors since these they typically require bandgaps in between those of conductors (typically having low bandgaps) and dielectrics (large bandgaps). The second step is their implementation in transistors and circuits. The latter requires the development of both n-type (electron-transporting) and p-type (hole-transporting) semiconductors. Such combination in a transparent electronic device is currently unexplored. The third relates to the application field since transistor performance and materials property requirements vary depending on the final device architecture.
1. Facchetti, Antonio; Marks, Tobin J. Eds. Transparent Electronics. From Synthesis to Applications John Wiley & Sons 2010
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3. Wager, John F. Transparent electronics. Science (2003), 300(5623), 1245-1246.
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