Cheap semiconducting polymers

Researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK, have made a new class of inexpensive semiconducting polymers that are easily processed and have electron transport efficiencies almost as high as costly crystalline inorganic semiconductors, despite the apparent amorphous internal structure of the polymers. “What is most surprising about these materials is that they appear very disordered at the microstructural level while at the electronic level they allow electrons to move nearly as freely as in crystalline inorganic semiconductors,” explains team member Mark Nikolka of the University’s Cavendish Laboratory. The materials or their chemical cousins might one day be exploited in tough but flexible portable device displays for smart phones, tablets and other gadgets.