Overall Goal + Justification
Organic semiconductors have key advantages allowing novel applications beyond those possible with classical crystalline semiconductors. Organic materials can be deposited on flexible substrates, are lightweight and suitable for low-temperature processing. Most importantly, organic polymers are fully compatible with many printing processes, from low-cost roll-to-roll technology to high-speed nano-imprinting and ink-jet patterning. A complete organic technology can also offer multi-functionality hosting electronics, photonics, actuators, sensors, and more. Despite the fact that organic materials have been investigated for decades, only small organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays on rigid substrates have reached the market so far. One of the key reasons is that the performance of organic transistors is currently orders of magnitude below that of their silicon counterparts; additionally, cost – counted per transistor – is orders of magnitude above silicon technology.
In our opinion the key steps towards reaching product maturity are twofold. First, we need a significant improvement of performance, using novel materials and device principles. Second, we need to find device principles and architectures where organic and polymer materials offer unique features, beyond those offered by competitive technologies. In this Path, we wish to establish a vigorous basic research program addressing these objectives. Most advantageous for our initiative is that Saxony is currently home to a leading organics cluster, organized in the network Organic Electronics Saxony (OES). With over 850 employees in academia and industry, it is the largest organics cluster in Europe, and likely, in the world.
Although our initiative addresses basic research, our work is organized around a number of specific topics, with the intention of focusing efforts and exploiting specific local expertise: novel display technologies based on organic materials; novel, ultra-low-cost, roll-to-roll printed audio technology; next generation nano-imprint and ink-jet OFET technology; development of device modeling tools and a compact model for circuit design and device optimization; circuit and system design for printed speaker pre-amplification and wireless data transmission; nanoscale materials characterization.