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
- Outlook on the Wearable Electronics Global Market to 2027 - Featuring Apple, Bose and Epson America Among Others - ResearchAndMarkets.comon March 4, 2021 at 5:25 am
The "Wearable Electronics - Global Market Trajectory & Analytics" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.
- Samsung Electronics, Mastercard and Samsung Card Sign MoU for Fingerprint Biometric Payment Cardon March 4, 2021 at 1:13 am
Samsung Electronics’ System LSI Business, Mastercard, Samsung Card, have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a biometric card that features a built-in fingerprint scanner to authorize ...
- Scientists take wearable tech to the limit with new OLED smart tattooson March 3, 2021 at 5:41 am
Adding an illuminating new dimension to the art and design of body ink, scientists have created what they call the world's first light-up tattoo.
- Medical Electronics Market Worth $8.8 Billion by 2026on March 2, 2021 at 3:04 pm
According to the new market research report "Medical Electronics Market with Covid-19 Impact Analysis by Component (Sensors, MCUs/MPUs, Displays ...
- Medical Electronics Market worth $8.8 billion by 2026 - Exclusive Report by MarketsandMarkets™on March 2, 2021 at 5:54 am
According to the new market research report "Medical Electronics Market with Covid-19 Impact Analysis by Component (Sensors, MCUs/MPUs, Disp ...
- Move Over Fitness Trackers, Here Come On-Skin Electronics That Look Like Stickerson February 25, 2021 at 11:29 am
Fitness trackers are all the rage, but what about an on-skin sensor that can track your health and help you and your healthcare provider monitor your health?
- Scientists invented a wearable that recharges in the most incredible wayon February 25, 2021 at 9:45 am
For all the technological advances that have been made in the consumer electronic space, batteries are still the biggest limitation. Allowing a device to charge without needing a plug is a huge ...
- New wearable turns your body into a batteryon February 25, 2021 at 9:38 am
Scientists have figured out a way to turn the human body into a battery through a low-cost wearable device. Through a small thermoelectric generator that can be worn as a ring or bracelet, researchers ...
- This Wearable Uses Your Body Heat as an Energy Sourceon February 23, 2021 at 8:00 pm
A team of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have developed a wearable that can tap into its wearer’s natural body heat to virtually turn the human body into a battery, no ...
via Bing News