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Posted: March 5, 2009
New EU project to spearhead development of organic nanomaterials in electronics
(Nanowerk News) A new EU-funded project is set to put Europe at the forefront of new developments in the application of nano-materials in the organic electronics and photonics sectors.
The ONE-P ('Organic nano-materials for electronics and photonics: design, synthesis, characterisation, processing, fabrication and applications') project has been allocated EUR 18 million under the 'Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies' (NMP) Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project counts 28 partners from 10 EU Member States.
Currently, most electronics rely on silicon-based semi-conductors. These are expensive to make, and their manufacture requires a lot of energy and generates a large volume of waste. However, the silicon semi-conductor industry is well established.
The ONE-P project will work in the fast-growing world of organic, carbon-based semiconductors. Unlike their silicon-based counterparts, these have low fabrications costs and their production is much kinder to the environment, as it uses less energy and generates less waste.
The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) financed many successful projects in the field of organic electronics; these developed a wide range of novel technologies and helped to cement Europe's position as a world leader in the field.
Nevertheless, bottlenecks to the further development and wider application of these exciting new technologies remain, and that is where the ONE-P project comes in. During the three-year project, the researchers will develop new nano-materials for use in photovoltaics, photodetectors and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), among other things. If all goes according to plan, the materials developed through the project will be stable, easy to process, cheap and environmentally friendly.
'The responsibility of scientists is to develop sustainable technologies which reduce environmental impacts while improving the well-being of people,' commented project coordinator Professor Yves Geerts of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) in Belgium.
Using lighting as an example, he explained that a conventional light bulb emits around 20 lumen per watt, while today's energy-saving light bulbs emit almost 80 lumen per watt. In the world of organic electronics, there are already OLEDs that can comfortably match the efficiency of energy-saving bulbs, and with further research these new light sources will soon be able to provide us with the same light levels as ordinary bulbs for a fraction of the energy.
The project results should represent an exciting opportunity for business; the ONE-P consortium includes six high-profile companies, all of which hope to turn the project results into commercial products and services, generating jobs and wealth in the process.