Silicon chips outperform organic polymer semiconductors by virtue of their perfect crystalline lattices, but now polymers can employ the same trick to combine high-speed and low-cost. Look for organic plastic semiconductors to begin supplanting silicon chips over the rest of the decade. R.C.J.
Scanning tunneling microscope image (top) and density functional theory-calculated structures (bottom) reveal the formation of a well-organized PEDOT polymer.
Here's what EETimes says about crystalline plastic: Amorphous, poly- and crystalline silicon differ in the organization of their atomic lattices; the more organized, the higher the performance. Epitaxial silicon, with its perfect crystalline lattices, is required for high-end chips. Until now, such performance was unavailable for organic semiconductors, but researchers at the Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory now claim to have demonstrated epitaxial growth in polymers, foreshadowing a plastic chip process that could combine the high speed of silicon with the low cost of plastic.
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