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Old 03-21-2006, 03:25 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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A scientific step foward towards flexible paper

Dr. Iain McCulloch of Merck Chemicals is the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with. Between gulps, he will impart the details of how organic polymers really work. BBC runs a story how a bunch of academics including Dr. McCulloch invented a new low-cost plastic material based on the research of organic field-effect transistors (OFET). The team managed to tweak the chemical structure of the plastic to improve its efficiency in carrying an electrical current (traditional OFETs are much slower than silicon) and to allow it to dissolve in a solution to produce an ink.

These modifications give the material its edge over traditional silicon which must be processed at high temperatures and in vacuums. This is not only slow and expensive but produces a large amount of waste. Instead, the new polymer can be printed using traditional inkjet printers or techniques similar to those used to produce magazines and wallpaper. This means it can easily be printed on large flexible surfaces, making it attractive for use in electronic paper where rigid silicon cannot be used.

Being cheap in production, very flexible (unlike rigid silicon technology) and if desired transparent, this plastic may offer great opportunities in future electronics, especially for smart labels, flexible flat-panel displays, and - hear the drums roll - electronic paper.

[via Engadget]
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