POWER THROUGH PAPER
A team of researchers from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, has come up with an innovative way to use paper as the primary component in Field Effect Transistors (FETs).
This technology uses substrates glass or crystalline silicon as a substrate. Similarly, with the help of biopolymers, costs can be further reduced. With cellulose being such a common resource, several studies have pointed to using it as a support material for electronic devices.
The new device, not only functions as the substrate, but also works as an insulator. The researchers have fabricated the devices on both sides of the paper sheet. As a result, the paper acts as an insulator and substrate at the same time. Paper, a known cellulose, also has decent electric insulation and dielectric properties. Therefore, to create the new device, a team led by Elvira Fortunato and Rodrigo Martins from Cenimat/I3N, used a single sheet of common paper as a dielectric layer on which semiconductor oxides were printed.
The findings would most likely be published coming September, which hopefully would boost commercial interest. The new transistor closely resembles oxide thin film transistors in terms of electrical characteristics and way over those of TFTs fabricated out of amorphous silicon substrates. The results suggest that in the near future, disposable electronic devices, paper displays, smart labels, smart packaging, bio-applications, RFID tags and many more could become a reality. Especially, in the case of consumer grade devices where even a few grams count, paper based circuits will be a hit as they will be considerably lighter than all the conventional circuits that current devices like mobiles and cameras are made up of. Being paper, the circuits can be folded, further reducing the size, while being more environmentally friendly at the same time.