Bendable Organic Processors Are Here

source engadget/imec

The world is a getting just a bit too Jetsonian for me. First we have the rise of robots with the new internet designed just for them and we have the ever smaller mobile computer. Now we have organic semiconductors that allow for the possibility of computationally-inclined clothing. If you have ever dreamed of one day wearing your computer you may not have to wait much longer.

At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco researchers will introduce the first microprocessor made with organic semiconductors. Researchers at IMEC have created an inexpensive bendable microprocessor. They layered a plastic substrate, gold circuits, organic dielectric and a pentacene organic semiconductor to create an 8-bit logic circuit with 4000 transistors. It executes 6 instructions per second.

Don’t expect these to take on Watson or any other super computer anytime soon, but they could be useful in manufacturing cheaper flexible displays and sensors. They anticipate these bendable sheets with processors wrapped around pipes might record water pressure, or wrapped around food it could tell you if your hamburger has gone bad.

The obstacle was to overcome the organic transistors’ variable switching voltage thresholds, instead of silcon’s predictable nature. IMEC added a second gate to control the electrical field and prevent unwanted switching. This makes way for plastic processors.

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Categories: Gadgets and Gizmos

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