Oana D. Jurchescu
Department of Physics and Center for Functional Materials, Wake Forest University
Fantastic Plastic: Fueling a Revolution in Electronics
Plastic is ubiquitous in most sectors of our lives due to its low cost, lightweight, versatility and ease of molding into any shape. For many years, however, its use was restricted to that of an encapsulant in the electronics industry. The birth of plastic electronics has changed that and now sensors built from plastics (i.e. organic semiconductors) save lives in the hospitals and on the battlefield, light-emitting diodes incorporated in displays produce the most vivid pictures, and an increasing number of products are approaching the marketplace. Plastic electronics retain the key attributes of plastic and augment current technologies with products where traditional electronics are not applicable: they can enable flexible and conformable circuits that can be placed on anything to introduce a revolutionary concept of electronics everywhere. In this presentation I will focus on such materials and devices which provide an opportunity to incorporate electronics in non-traditional areas such as clothing, electronic paper, flexible and rollable applications, or bio-integrated applications. A mind-blowing array of new products include rollable displays, tattoo-like smart bandages that inform medical professionals in real time, conformable electronics inserted into clothes and even human body. For such a sweeping revolution to occur, innovation is needed in materials and devices. Research activities over the past decades provide a tremendous foundation of knowledge on the phenomena occurring in organic electronics and promise versatile commercial applications.