In a discovery sure to help the development of solar panel and display technology, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have engineered transistors that they can airbrush onto a surface like spray paint.
Unlike most computer chips, which use transistors made of silicon, the NIST spray-on computer chip utilizes an organic semiconductor, called poly(3-hexylthiophene), or P3HT. By spraying the P3HT over a deposited circuit architecture of gold and silicon, the NIST team can lay down vast swaths of electronics quickly and cheaply.
The NIST scientists admit that translating this breakthrough into a concrete new technology will prove challenging. However, once the technique is perfected, it can result in very significant price drops for both solar panels and large display screens.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.