Inorganic semiconductors have dominated the industry for 50 years despite the fact that conductive organic polymers were first discovered in 1977. Polymers can be “doped” or chemically altered to adjust their electrical behaviour. Their value in the sector is quickly drawing the attention of key players for their unique ability to manage currents and amplify signals. They’ve become an important component of LEDs and solar cells, but researchers are now investigating the value of a ruthenium-containing compound that can be used to boost electrical activity.
A New Optimizer
Ruthenium-doped germanium clusters, optimized with a metaheuristic, were recently found to offer valuable electronic properties. Ruthenium-doped carbon dots are also being studied for their complex nanostructured framework, but such monomers tend not to snap back together when recombined.
Of course, dopants aren’t the only way to alter semiconducting behaviour. Intrinsic properties are the simplest way to benefit from organic materials. Hyper-reducing dopants can, however, increase electrical activity by a million times.
Despite the fact that researchers are still gaining an understanding of some organic semiconductors, they’re remarkably simple to process and are useful in the creation of transparent, flexible devices. Their fragility presents a challenge, but scientists are trying to develop materials that allow charge transportation without becoming brittle.
Intrinsically stretchable organic devices are already possible, and they’re impressive electronic performers capable of mechanical deformability. They can also be worn on the skin almost imperceptibly. It’s this last characteristic that’s exciting researchers at the University of Tokyo. Their optoelectronic skin has a thin and stretchable LED display that can be worn on the hand.
Organic electronics are at last understood well enough to be used for legitimate new technologies like worn OLED screens and printed solar cells. The future has arrived, and it’s more interesting than even Orwell could have predicted.