How Micro- and Optoelectronics Lead to Transparent and Paper Transistors
If you are happy that your mobile phone does not weigh 1 kilogram and cost $4000 like the first handheld model from 1973, you will appreciate the efforts of Elvira Fortunato, who is working on making technology as cheap and light as paper. A multi-award winning researcher and Director of the Materials Research Centre (Cenimat) of New University of Lisbon, Fortunato pioneered the Paper-e® concept which is based on the discovery that paper can be a functional part of electronic devices. In the near future we might see self-updating business cards and price tags, animated paper billboards and electronic newspapers. Elvira Fortunato is now onto “Invisible”, a project that secured her a 2008 Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. Using zinc oxide, a transparent ceramic already used in industrial applications, her lab aims at producing a new generation of transistors – transparent, flexible and as thin as paper. The resulting electronic components generate less waste heat and are cheaper, faster and more resistant than their traditional counterparts. Elvira Fortunato introduces us to the age of invisible technology which brings us transparent televisions and digital car windscreens, but also entirely new tools for medical diagnostics.