Flexible electronics is a rising field in terms of research and potential application opportunities to obtain similar characteristics than today's prevailing rigid electronics components. In new work, researchers have demonstrated the semiconductor industry's most advanced device architecture - FinFET, a new generation of device architecture which Intel has adopted in 2011 in their microprocessors; these field effect transistors offer non-planar three-dimensional topology where the channels are vertically aligned in arrays of ultra-thin silicon fins bordered by multiple gates - in a flexible platform using only industry standard processes and keeping the advantages offered by silicon.
The term printed electronics refers to the application of printing technologies for the fabrication of electronic circuits and devices, increasingly on flexible plastic or paper substrates. Traditionally, electronic devices are mainly manufactured by photolithography, vacuum deposition, and electroless plating processes. In contrast to these multistaged, expensive, and wasteful methods, inkjet printing offers a rapid and cheap way of printing electrical circuits with commodity inkjet printers and off-the-shelf materials.
New work by an international team of researchers provides not only new insights into the chemical evolution of monodisperse nanoparticles from an atomic metal-dispersed precursor, but also a general route to obtain tunable nanoparticles as heterogeneous catalysts for chemical and material production. The team used an atomic metal-dispersed precursor of layered double hydroxides to synthesize high density, monodisperse metal nanoparticles. They then selected carbon nanotube growth as the probe reaction to evaluate the catalytic performance of the monodisperse metal nanoparticles catalysts.
Fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) objects through direct deposition of functional materials - also called additive manufacturing - has been a subject of intense study in the area of macroscale manufacturing for several decades. These 3D printing techniques are reaching a stage where desired products and structures can be made independent of the complexity of their shapes. Researchers in Korea have now shown that nanoscale 3D objects such as free-standing nanowalls can by constructed by an additive manufacturing scheme.
Over the years, researchers have developed a large number of techniques to synthesize nanowires and nanotubes in the laboratory. These procedures vary widely in their hardware requirements and methodology. Nevertheless, they all share a set of common goals: simplicity of protocol; fast execution; and low energy input. Now, an international group of scientists has reported a breakthrough in all three of these areas, leading to a revolutionary and remarkably simple technique for preparing one-dimensional nanostructures. As an example, they demonstrate a unique approach to growing amorphous boron nanowires.
Paper could lead to low-cost innovative devices and applications is lab-on-a-chip technology. In new work, researchers in Korea have, for the first time, used paper as a platform material for actively actuating an electronic microfluidic chip. This novel, powered fluidic chip - known as an active paper open chip (APOC) - allows the full range of fluidic operations by implementing an electric input on paper via an electrowetting technique.
In the field on controlling liquid movement on surfaces, super water-repellent surfaces have been well-documented. In contrast, comparatively fewer reports are available on the design of water pinning surfaces. In new work, scientists have achieved polymer films with exceptionally high water pinning forces through nanoimprinted surface structures, without the incorporation of any chemical treatment. This work contributes to the field on water pinning surfaces by providing a simple geometrical rule-of-thumb design of nanostructures to engineer polymeric surfaces with tunable water pinning ability.
Silicon offers a unique combination between mechanical and electrical properties making it one of the most developed materials in semiconductor industry. However, silicon is brittle and cannot be flexed, hindering its potential for high performance electronics that is flexible, stretchable or applied to irregular shapes. Researchers have now developed a pragmatic approach to achieve high performance integrated electronic systems, including thermoelectric energy harvesters, onto flexible silicon substrates.