Circuits Alive!

Author:  Charley Wang

Institution:  University of Toronto
Date:  April 2008

It may not be a living breathing circuit, but it may be the next best thing. Researchers from the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) have found a way to bridge the gap between organic and conventional circuits.

Organic (carbon based) circuits are exactly what they sound like – organic alternatives to conventional (silicon based) circuit components. These circuits are attractive to industry leaders because they are potentially cheaper, smaller and more energy efficient than silicon alternatives. Companies such as Philips are already developing primitive OLED (organic LED) displays which offer far more flexibility than traditional LCD screens.

However, one problem with integrating organic components into modern circuit chips is the chip itself. This is because substrates compatible with the industry's current standard, called CMOS, are not compatible with the new organic standard. But recently the NIST team overcame this barrier by depositing organic devices on a CMOS-friendly chip. Furthermore, the deposited devices have proven to be stable, and possess all the qualities required of an organic resistor.

The team plans to continue their research by manufacturing hybrid organic/silicon circuits. They believe that this research goes a fair ways toward integration of the emerging field of organic circuitry with existing consumer electronics.

Written by Charley Wang

Reviewed by Elizabeth Ng, David Metcalfe

Published by Pooja Ghatalia.