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John O | December 2016

Penn State researchers introduce more stable polymers to electrical circuits

a team of researchers at penn state university have determined that by controlling the order and arrangement of fluorinated polymer chains in the semiconductor interface that will break the universally accepted relationship between charge mobility and charge storage capacity of the dielectric layer. this research could pave the way for polymer materials in flexible electronic applications.



penn state researchers have found a method for polymers to be used in electronics.
(enrique gomez/penn state)


according to a report on the pen state website, the researchers built on existing work being done at the university on putting cross-linkable polymers in high-charge capacity chains. these cross-linked polymer chains align polymers at the insulating level of organic thin film transistors (otfts) and that can decrease the number of charge traps, which reduces current leakage and leads to more efficient circuits.


the researchers focused on fluorinated polymers because of “their exceptional stability and high propensity to store energy, and transistors derived from rubrene, an aromatic hydrocarbon.” the results of the research, which was reported in a recent issue of advanced materials, showed a charge mobility that was 10 times higher than devices made with standard insulators.


the abstract from the final report stated:


“a novel photopatternable high-k fluoropolymer, poly(vinylidene fluoride-bromotrifluoroethylene) p(vdf-btfe), with a dielectric constant (k) between 8 and 11 is demonstrated in thin-film transistors.


“crosslinking p(vdf-btfe) reduces energetic disorder at the dielectric–semiconductor interface by controlling the chain conformations of p(vdf-btfe), thereby leading to approximately a threefold enhancement in the charge mobility of rubrene single-crystal field-effect transistors.”


the researchers are hopeful that their work could lead to less expensive material to be used in flexible electronics including health monitoring devices and wearables.


a grant to advance flexible and printed electronics from dow chemical funded the research.

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