Where is plastic electronics technology headed?
Many advances have been made in the field of conductive polymers, but there are still several areas that can be improved. These areas are where the majority of the current research is focused. For example, all of the existing conductive polymers are P-type semiconductors, meaning that they carry a positive charge because there are not enough electrons to fill all of the available bonding spaces. A polymer analogue of N-type semiconductors has yet to be developed.
Another developing area of research is involved in LED technology. A type of polymer called PPV can already be used to emit light from orange to green in the visible light spectrum, but increasing this range would make them more useful. If the polymer was capable of emitting blue light, the spectrum would be nearly complete.
These remarkable plastics have applications in highly scientific areas such as energy and medicine as well as more commercial areas. This versatility and their lower costs are what makes them the novel material that is attracting so much attention today. Looking towards the future, scientists expect to see electronic wall paper that changes colors and patterns, diagnostic tools and sensors for the medical field, and windows that gather solar power.
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