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John O | March 2018

Researchers create two-in-one power source with solar-powered transistor

by josh perry, editor


researchers at the catalan institute of nanoscience and nanotechnology (icn2) in barcelona, spain have developed a novel concept of transistor technology, featuring a two-in-one power source plus a transistor device that operates on solar energy.


the new technology was dubbed a solaristor by the scientists. (icn2)


according to a report from the institute, the new technology, dubbed a “solaristor” by the lead scientists, would remove the bulky battery that makes up most of standard transistor packaging. the transistor and the energy source (sunlight) would be able to fit into a slim unit.


“the work explains how the ‘transistor effect’ is achieved by using a ferroelectric oxide to create the heterojunction needed for solar functionality,” the report explained. “such a set-up harnesses the switchable polarization of this ferroelectric layer to achieve off and on states – 1s and 0s – in the flow of electrons harvested by the organic semiconductor.”


this new development fits transistor and power sources into a device about the size of a biological cell.


the research was recently published in advanced functional materials. the abstract read:


“this study presents a new self-powered electronic transistor concept “the solar transistor.” the transistor effect is enabled by the functional integration of a ferroelectric-oxide thin film and an organic bulk heterojunction.


“the organic heterojunction efficiently harvests photon energy and splits photogenerated excitons into free electron and holes, and the ferroelectric film acts as a switchable electron transport layer with tuneable conduction band offsets that depend on its polarization state. this results in the device photoconductivity modulation.


“all this (i.e., carrier extraction and poling) is achieved with only two sandwiched electrodes and therefore, with the role of the gating electrode being taken by light.


“the two-terminal solar-powered phototransistor (or solaristor) thus has the added advantages of a compact photodiode architecture in addition to the nonvolatile functionality of a ferroelectric memory that is written by voltage and nondestructively read by light.”

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