Soon cameras like this one
we reported in January
could be being produced using electronic paper thanks to the advanced
conductive plastic discovered by the efforts of a team of UK and US
The new material, is an organic polymer called semi-conducting
polythiophene and can be laid down by simple printing methods as a
fluid rather than the expensive and elaborate techniques used to
process silicon. The material can be printed using traditional inkjet
printers or techniques similar to those used to produce magazines and
wallpaper. The material is also flexible which opens up a wealth of
opportunities for its application.
Transistors have already been printed using the technique, and
they are similar in performance to those used in the manufacture of
flat panel display screens.
In the new polymer material, individual molecules align with each other
more effectively than ever before. The result is an electronic
performance six times better than previously reported. This, coupled
with good stability in air, makes such polymers ideal candidates to
replace more traditional materials such as silicon, providing
cheap and easy routes to future products.
Iain McCulloch, a senior project manager from the team behind the
discovery said, "Initial applications might be in simple,
disposable electronic items, followed by small reflective displays for
PDAs or e-paper
The research team incorporated members from Merck Chemicals in
Southampton, UK; Palo Alto Research Centre, California; Department of
Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University; and the
Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.