In a new development, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboration with researchers at the University of California have created basic electronic building blocks. The researchers used tiny elements known as quantum dots and used them to put together functional logic circuits. With this innovation, the promise of a cheaper and manufacturing-friendly approach to fabricate complex electronic devices demonstrated. These electronic devices can be created in a chemistry laboratory using simple, solution-based techniques, and offer long-sought parts for a range of innovative devices.
“Printable circuits, lab-on-a-chip diagnostics, flexible displays, medical testing, biometrics, and smart implants are some potential applications employing the new approach based on non-toxic quantum dots, said one of the researchers behind the development.
Breakthrough Transistors enable Creation of Electronic Devices in Chemistry Laboratory
In fact, for decades, microelectronics has depended on extra-high purity silicon that undergoes processing in a specially created clean-room environment. Meanwhile, recently, silicon-based microelectronics have faced challenges of a number of alternative technologies. These technologies enable fabrication of complex electronic circuits outside a clean room using inexpensive, readily accessible chemical techniques. One such emerging technology is colloidal semiconductor nanoparticles that employs chemistry methods in much less stringent environments. Due to the smart size and unique properties of these colloidal semiconductor nanoparticles directly controlled by quantum mechanics, the particles are dubbed as quantum dots.
Structurally, a colloidal quantum dot comprises a semiconductor core covered with organic molecules. Owing to the hybrid nature, colloidal quantum dots combine the plus of well-understood traditional semiconductor with the chemical versatility of molecular systems. The properties of colloidal quantum dots are attractive for the fabrication of new types of flexible electronic circuits that could virtually be printed on any surface, including paper, plastic, and even human skin.