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Printed subthreshold organic transistors operating at high gain and ultralow power

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Science  15 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6428, pp. 719-723
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav7057

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Low-power organic transistors

For internet-of-things applications, transistors that deliver high signal amplification (high gain) at low power will help conserve power and extend battery life. Jiang et al. used inkjet printing to fabricate an organic transistor in which silver metal contacts form a low Schottky barrier (less than 0.2 electron volt) with an organic semiconductor. The transistor delivered gain near the theoretical limit at a power below 1 nanowatt and detected electrophysiological signals from the skin with a wearable device.

Science, this issue p. 719

Abstract

Overcoming the trade-offs among power consumption, fabrication cost, and signal amplification has been a long-standing issue for wearable electronics. We report a high-gain, fully inkjet-printed Schottky barrier organic thin-film transistor amplifier circuit. The transistor signal amplification efficiency is 38.2 siemens per ampere, which is near the theoretical thermionic limit, with an ultralow power consumption of <1 nanowatt. The use of a Schottky barrier for the source gave the transistor geometry-independent electrical characteristics and accommodated the large dimensional variation in inkjet-printed features. These transistors exhibited good reliability with negligible threshold-voltage shift. We demonstrated this capability with an ultralow-power high-gain amplifier for the detection of electrophysiological signals and showed a signal-to-noise ratio of >60 decibels and noise voltage of <0.3 microvolt per hertz1/2 at 100 hertz.

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