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Organic FET improvements bring flexible electronics closer to reality

FLEXIBLE, paper-thin computer screens are another step closer to reality, researchers at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science say.

The developments relate to organic field-effect transistors (OFETs): devices that incorporate organic semiconductors, amplify weak electronic signals, and either emit or receive light. OFETs were developed to produce low-cost, large-area electronics, such as printable and/or flexible electronic devices.

Light-emitting OFETs first appeared in 2003, but have since seen a lot of progress

, especially around the area of manufacture using cost-effective approaches. Advances in manufacturing techniques have also opened the possibility of improved light emission efficiency and brightness.

Light-emitting OFETs are also expected to become fully compatible with well-established electronic technologies. This may allow further development of optical communication systems and optoelectronic systems, such as those using laser technologies.

Light-receiving organic field-effect transistors (LR-OFETs), on the other hand, are much less developed. LR-OFETs convert light into electrical signals,. These transistors could open new frontiers for photonic and electronic devices, including flexible computing devices entirely

constructed of plastic.

However, fully functional, flexible tablets are still a decade away, according to the researchers, due to issues around the performance of devices that incorporate both light-emitting and light-receiving transistors. Interdisciplinary collaborations between organic ch

emists and device physicists will be key to solving these issues