Some day, your smartphone might completely conform to your wrist, and when it does, it might be covered in pure gold, thanks to researchers at Missouri S&T.
Writing in the March 17 issue of the journal Science, the S&T researchers say they have developed a way to “grow” thin layers of gold on single crystal wafers of silicon, remove the gold foils, and use them as substrates on which to grow other electronic materials. The research team’s discovery could revolutionize wearable or “flexible” technology research, greatly improving the versatility of such electronics in the future.
According to lead researcher Jay A. Switzer, the majority of research into wearable technology has been done using polymer substrates, or substrates made up of multiple crystals. “And then they put some typically organic semiconductor on there that ends up being flexible, but you lose the order that (silicon) has,” says Switzer, Donald L. Castleman/FCR Endowed Professor of Discovery in Chemistry at S&T.
Because the polymer substrates are made up of multiple crystals, they have what are called grain boundaries, says Switzer. These grain boundaries can greatly limit the performance of an electronic device.
“Say you’re making a solar cell or an LED,” he says. “In a semiconductor, you have electrons and you have holes, which are the opposite of electrons. They can combine at grain boundaries and give off heat. And then you end up losing the light that you get out of an LED, or the current or voltage that you might get out of a solar cell.”
Most electronics on the market are made of silicon because it’s “relatively cheap, but also highly ordered,” Switzer says.
“99.99 percent of electronics are made out of silicon, and there’s a reason – it works great,” he says. “It’s a single crystal, and the atoms are perfectly aligned. But, when you have a single crystal like that, typically, it’s not flexible.”
By starting with single crystal silicon and growing gold foils on it, Switzer is able to keep the high order of silicon on the foil. But because the foil is gold, it’s also highly durable and flexible.
“We bent it 4,000 times, and basically the resistance didn’t change,” he says.
The gold foils are also essentially transparent because they are so thin. According to Switzer, his team has peeled foils as thin as seven nanometers.
Switzer says the challenge his research team faced was not in growing gold on the single crystal silicon, but getting it to peel off as such a thin layer of foil. Gold typically bonds very well to silicon.
“So we came up with this trick where we could photo-electrochemically oxidize the silicon,” Switzer says. “And the gold just slides off.”
Photoelectrochemical oxidation is the process by which light enables a semiconductor material, in this case silicon, to promote a catalytic oxidation reaction.
Switzer says thousands of gold foils—or foils of any number of other metals—can be made from a single crystal wafer of silicon.
The research team’s discovery can be considered a “happy accident.” Switzer says they were looking for a cheap way to make single crystals when they discovered this process.
“This is something that I think a lot of people who are interested in working with highly ordered materials like single crystals would appreciate making really easily,” he says. “Besides making flexible devices, it’s just going to open up a field for anybody who wants to work with single crystals.”
Receive an email update when we add a new ARTIFICIAL SYNAPSES article.
The Latest on: Wearable electronics
via Google News
The Latest on: Wearable electronics
- Wearable Payment Market Outlook 2021: Big Things Are Happeningon January 21, 2021 at 8:50 am
Global Wearable Payment Industry Market Report-Development Trends, Threats, Opportunities and Competitive Landscape in 2020 is latest research study released by HTF MI evaluating the market, ...
- Nano-thin piezoelectrics advance self-powered electronicson January 21, 2021 at 4:15 am
A new type of ultra-efficient, nano-thin material could advance self-powered electronics, wearable technologies and even deliver pacemakers powered by heart beats. The flexible and printable ...
- Fitness App Market 2021 Global Key Players: Google LLC, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, TomTom International BV, Lenovo Group Limited, Nikeon January 21, 2021 at 2:04 am
Fitness App Market Highlights Global Fitness App Market spans across North America Europe Asia Pacific and the rest of the world North America is dominating the global fitness app market owing to the ...
- Wearable Electronics Products Market Report | Major Factors Propelling Growth of Industry Size Valued By CAGR and Revenue Forecast Till 2025on January 20, 2021 at 5:27 am
This report explains the Wearable Electronics Products market size, market characteristics, and market growth of the industry, and breaks down according to the type, application, ...
- 5G in Healthcare Market May Set New Growth Story : Ericsson, Verizon, Samsung Electronicson January 19, 2021 at 12:54 pm
Stay up to date with 5G in Healthcare Market research offered by HTF MI. Check how key trends and emerging drivers are shaping this industry growth.
- Global Wearable Electronics Market 2020-2024 to Post a Progressing CAGR of 15% | Technavioon January 18, 2021 at 12:52 pm
Technavio has been monitoring the wearable electronics market and it is poised to grow by USD 41.24 billion during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of 15% during the forecast period. The report offers ...
- Wearable Sensors Detect Respiratory, Cardiac Symptomson January 13, 2021 at 12:21 pm
A highly sensitive wearable sensor is in development for monitoring heart disease—as well as potentially detecting early COVID-19 symptoms.
- Wearable electronics for continuous cardiac, respiratory monitoringon January 12, 2021 at 8:04 am
A small and inexpensive sensor, announced in Applied Physics Letters and based on an electrochemical system, could potentially be worn continuously by cardiac patients or others who require constant ...
- Global Healthcare, Wellness, and Fitness Connected Wearable Device Market Report 2021-2026on January 12, 2021 at 5:15 am
The "Connected Wearable Device Market in Healthcare, Wellness, and Fitness by Device Type, Use Case, and Application 2021-2026" report has ...
via Bing News