Researchers are working to make electronic
components cheaper and more flexible. One way to do this is to make them
from organic, or carbon-based, materials.
Researchers from the Italian National Institute for the Physics
of Matter (INFM), the Italian University of Lecce and the Italian National
Research Center (CNR) have found a class of materials that promises to
improve organic electronic components like lasers, light-emitting diodes,
and waveguides. Light-emitting diodes are a key component of computer
screens, and waveguides channel light.
Most organic electronic devices are made from long, chain-like
polymer molecules that can be readily shaped in bulk using heat. Some
smaller organic molecules have better optical properties but can't easily
be shaped thermally. The researchers have found an organic material that
can be shaped by applying pressure with a patterned stamp.
The material can be applied to a device by using room-temperature
ink-jet printing to place the material and a stamp to shape it. The researchers'
demonstrated the process by making a grating containing lines that measured
600 nanometers from the center of one line to the next and using the grating
as the top layer of a red, optically-pumped laser.
The method could be used to fabricate organic devices into five
years, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the September
29, 2003 issue of Applied Physics Letters.
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