Japanese and German researchers has created an electronic banknote that contains about 100 thin-film transistors (TFTs), each of which is less than 250 nanometers thick and can be operated at just three volts. The team created the arrays of TFTs by depositing gold, aluminum oxide, and organic molecules directly onto the banknotes through a patterned mask, building up the TFTs layer by layer. This was done "without aggressive chemicals or high temperatures, both of which might have damaged the surface of the banknotes," says the Max Planck Institute's Ute Zschieschang. The voltage is small enough to be transmitted wirelessly by an external reader, such as those that communicate with radio frequency identification tags on products.
The team has tested the electronic circuits for performing basic computer operations on U.S. dollars, Swiss francs, Japanese yen, and euro notes. The researchers have yet to determine how to program the electronic circuits to confirm the authenticity of banknotes, which would make it easier to track them.
From New Scientist
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