New Material to Lead to a Big revolution in Transparent Electronics Market as it Might Enable Making of High Mobility p-type Oxide

Posted On April 28, 2021     

Scientists have invested large amount of resources to achieve or identify a new class of electronics as semiconducting oxides.  An ambition that has been decades old. Oxide-based devices are rather advantageous to all players involved. They have applications in power electronics as well as communication technology. Moreover, they also have the ability to reduce carbon footprints in utility networks.

Researchers have now brought forward ultrathin beta-tellurite to the 2-D (two dimensional) semiconducting material group. This new development might put the decade long search for a high mobility p-type oxide to rest. This is a great advancement for Transparent Electronics as this could literally be the way towards next-generation transparent electronics. See-through devices would greatly benefit the world as they can potentially be integrated in glass, in smart contact lenses and flexible displays. In turn, producing futuristic devices that look like they are a product of some science fiction. The high mobility p-type oxide that is mentioned in the study might be an essential key in the materials spectrum to facilitate fast, transparent circuits.  Other several advantages of the oxide-based semiconductors are their stability in air, easy deposition, less-stringent purity requirements and cost feasibility.

There are two different types of semiconducting materials, namely N-type (consists of negatively charged electrons in abundance) and p-type (consists of plenty of positively charged holes). Stacking together, complementary n-type and p-type materials enables different electronic devices like logic circuits, diodes and rectifiers. These devices are essential to modern life as they form the building blocks for important electronics like computers and smartphones. The biggest barrier to making this a real life technology is that even though there are several high-performance n-type oxides present today, there is still dearth of high quality p-type oxides.

Thus, the team developed a device that shows p-type switching in addition to high hole mobility. They demonstrated the isolation of beta-tellurite with a particularly built synthesis technique that depends on liquid metal chemistry. A molten combination of selenium (Se) and tellurium (Te) is made and allowed to roll on a surface. Due to the oxygen present in the ambient air, the molten droplets easily form a thin surface oxide layer of beta tellurite. In time, when liquid droplets are rolled on the surface, the oxide layer attaches itself to it which results in depositing automatically thin oxide sheets in its way.

The experiments done by the researchers prove that beta-tellurite is around ten to one thousand times faster than the p-type oxide semiconductors that exist today. It also has an on/off ratio (over106) which is excellent and attests that the material is potentially suitable for power-efficient and fast devices. Such studies are essential to the transparent electronics industry as they actively try to bridge the gap between the electronic material libraries. If we are able to make fast, transparent p-type semiconductor, it will practically be a revolution for transparent electronics.

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