Plastic Transistors Gain Speed on Silicon

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Science  16 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5277, pp. 879
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5277.879


First developed in the mid 1980s, organic transistors immediately raised the prospect of using cheap, flexible and lightweight plastic for “smart cards” and other throw-away memory devices, or as the array of switches that control the light emission from each picture element in conventional laptop computer displays. But the devices have never really made it out of the lab because of disappointing processing speeds and because they leaked current when turned off. New research, however, has progressed on both of these fronts and the latest organic transistors virtually match the speed and low-loss characteristics of amorphous silicon devices.