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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Penn Researchers Make Flexible, Low-Voltage Circuits ­sing Nanocrystals

flexible circuit

Flexible circuit fabricated in Cherie Kagan's lab at the University of Pennsylvania.

Credit: David Kim and Yuming Lai / University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania researchers have shown that nanocrystals of the semiconductor cadmium selenide can be "printed" or "coated" on flexible plastic to create high-performance electronics. "Here, we show that these cadmium selenide nanocrystal devices can move electrons 22 times faster than in amorphous silicon," says Pennsylvania professor Cherie Kagan.

Kagan says the material can be deposited at room temperature and annealed at mild temperatures, which could lead to using more flexible plastic foundations. The researchers note they used a special kind of ligands, which are the chemical chains that extend from the nanocrystals' surfaces and helps facilitate conductivity as they are packed together into a film. "The new aspect of our research was that we used ligands that we can translate very easily onto the flexible plastic; other ligands are so caustic that the plastic actually melts," says Pennsylvania researcher David Kim.

The researchers also used spincoating, a process in which centrifugal force pulls a thin layer of the solution over a surface, to build three kinds of circuits to test the nanocrystals performance for circuit applications.

The researchers say nanocrystal circuits could lead to new kinds of devices and pervasive sensors, which can be used in biomedical and security applications.

From University of Pennsylvania
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