Organic semiconductors be developed faster than before

Organic semiconductors can be developed faster than before

12:48 PM, 19th August 2011
Organic semiconductors can be developed faster than before
A single crystal of the new organic semiconductor material shown in polarized light. It is approximately twice as fast as the parent organic material from which it was derived. The white scale bar at the bottom center of the photo represents 10 microns (10 millionths of a meter).


A team led by researchers at Stanford and Harvard universities has not only created a new material for high-speed organic semiconductors, it has come up with a new approach that can take months, even years, off the development timeline.

STANFORD, US: Organic semiconductors hold immense promise for use in thin film and flexible displays - picture an iPad you can roll up. Inorganic materials such as silicon are fast and durable, but don’t bend, so the search for a fast, durable organic semiconductor continues.

Now a team led by researchers at Stanford and Harvard universities has developed a new organic semiconductor material that is among the speediest yet. The scientists also accelerated the development process by using a predictive approach that lopped many months – and could lop years – off the typical timeline.

For the most part, developing a new organic electronic material has been a time-intensive, requiring researchers to synthesize large numbers of candidate materials and then test them.

The Stanford and Harvard-led group decided to try a computational predictive approach. “Synthesizing some of these compounds can take years. It is not a simple thing to do,” said Anatoliy Sokolov, a Postdoctoral Researcher in chemical engineering at Stanford.

Sokolov works in the laboratory of Zhenan Bao, Associate Professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. They are among the authors of a paper describing the work, published in the Aug. 16 issue of Nature Communications. Alán Aspuru-Guzik, an Associate Professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard, led the research group there and directed the theory and computation efforts.

The researchers used a material known as DNTT, which had already been shown to be a good organic semiconductor, as their starting point. From their analysis and materials used, they expected the new material to be about twice as fast as its parent.

Sokolov, the Stanford researcher, said it took about a year and a half to perfect the new compound and when they tested the final product, their predictions were borne out. The modified material doubled the speed of the parent material. The new material is more than 30 times faster than the amorphous silicon currently used for liquid crystal displays.

“It would have taken several years to both synthesize and characterize all the seven candidate compounds. With this approach, we were able to focus on the most promising candidate with the best performance, as predicted by theory,” said Bao.

“In the case of renewable energy, we have no time for synthesizing all the possible candidates, we need theory to complement synthetic approaches to accelerate materials discovery,” said Aspuru-Guzik.

The research was supported financially by the Stanford Global Climate and Energy Project, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, National Science Foundation, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation and the Sloan Foundation.

(C) Stanford University News




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