Lucent pioneers transistor printing

Lucent pioneers transistor printing
Tom Foremski
Lucent Technologies says that its Bell Labs research centre has developed a technique of “printing” transistors directly onto plastic, opening up new chip applications in areas such as smart cards and flat panel displays.
The breakthrough was announced by Bell Labs researchers at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas. Building chips directly onto a flexible substrate like plastic would be an improvement over fragile silicon substrates.
Smart cards are one application that could benefit from the Bell Labs technology, potentially making smart cards more durable and cheaper to produce, and attracting new applications. Flat panel displays could also be made lighter and more resistant to breaking in mobile applications.
The researchers described their new technique as similar to silk screening T-shirts, by spraying materials onto a plastic substrate. However, the technique results in very large transistors, about 75 microns in size, more than 300 times larger than silicon based chip transistors.


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