See-through electronics

Teams from Stanford and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have joined forces develop thin, transparent semiconductors that could become the foundation for cheap, high-performance displays. Since the early 1980s and perhaps even before that researchers have been trying to exploit inexpensive, organic compounds as semiconductors. Research teams led by Zhenan Bao, professor of chemical engineering at Stanford, and Jinsong Huang, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at UNL used their new process to make organic thin-film transistors with electronic characteristics comparable to those found in expensive, curved-screen television displays based on a form of silicon technology. The collaborators made two important changes to the basic process of spinning coating their thin layers on to a substrate: first they spun the platter faster. Second they only coated a tiny portion of the spinning surface, equivalent to the size of a postage stamp.