Move toward plastic chips

Friday, 12 October, 2001

Teams of researchers are working to find a way to use organic polymers as material for microelectronic production.

Carbon is the main building block of life, while silicon is the foundation for semiconductors. Several promising research efforts are underway to combine the two realms, using organic polymers as material for the production of microelectronics, including transistors and displays.

Organic polymers are molecules that contain a long string of carbon atoms and make versatile plastics. Organic polymers that conduct electricity have been around since the 1970s. But creating a superconducting organic polymer has proved to be far more difficult.

Bertram Batlogg, of the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology from the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, has said "It is not about to replace conventional electronics, it is meant to complete it." Batlogg is unsure of the full implications of his work, but he is confident that inexpensive electronics with organic materials will create new products, media and services. His work has already proven that organic materials like plastic could be used for the manufacturing of semiconductors, lasers and even superconductors.

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