Currently, n-type and p-type semiconductors are a prerequisite to form a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuit, which is a basic element of smartphones and televisions.
Since n-type and p-type semiconductors have different features, they must be formed on a separate substrate. It increase the number of process and makes harder for patterning which raises costs for mass production.
However, ambipolar characteristics of organic semiconductors can make them be used in both n-type and p-type semiconductors by converting the polarity. Using the characteristics, complex electronic elements can be created in a single material, lead to a dramatic reduction of processing costs. Until now, the existing organic semiconductors polarity conversion technology had been able to be applied to only specific systems so there was a limit to produce large areas at low costs.
The research team jointly led by Dr. Kim Hyeok from Mechatronics Convergence Technology Group at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology and Prof. Lee Chang-hee from Inter-University Semiconductor Research Center at Seoul National University has succeeded in developing a processing technology that can churn out large areas of CMOS circuits at low costs by introducing inkjet printing process and reducing semiconductor processing costs by over 50 percent.
The team has developed the technology that controls charge injections, realizing high performance with a single material. With the technology, it is possible to control regulate the charge densities in semiconductors and apply to various systems by easily converting the polarity of organic semiconductors.
Dr. Kim said, “As semiconductors are being used in core components of cutting-edge technologies, such as autonomous vehicle, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, its demand is growing. With our new technology, organic semiconductors, which are considered a next-generation semiconductors, will be more widely used to meet growing demand.”
The findings were published online in published in the journal Scientific Reports, which is affiliated with the prestigious journal Nature, on April 12. The research team completed the application for one patent in South Korea and is applying for a patent in other countries.