Printing of electronics is pursued as a low-cost alternative to conventional manufacturing processes. In addition, owing to relatively low process temperatures, flexible substrates can be used enabling novel applications. Among flexible substrates, paper was found to be a particularly interesting candidate, since it has an order of magnitude lower price than low-cost polymer alternatives, and is biodegradable. As ink materials, organic and metal-oxide semiconductors are thoroughly being investigated; however, they lack in electric performance compared to silicon in terms of device mobility, reliability, and energy efficiency. In recent years, liquid precursors for silicon were found and used to create polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si). However, fabrication of transistors on top of low-cost flexible substrates such as paper has remained an outstanding challenge. Here we demonstrate both p-channel and n-channel poly-Si thin-film transistors (TFTs) fabricated directly on top of paper with field-effect mobilities of 6.2 and 2.0 cm2/V s, respectively. Many fabrication challenges have been overcome by limiting the maximum process temperature to approximately 100 °C, and avoiding liquid chemicals commonly used for etching and cleaning. Patterning of poly-Si has been achieved by additive selective crystallization of the precursor film using an excimer laser. This work serves as a proof of concept, and has the potential to further improve device performance. Owing to the low-cost, biodegradable nature of paper, and the high performance, reliability, and energy efficiency of poly-Si TFTs, this work opens a pathway toward truly low-cost, low-power, recyclable applications including smart packages, biodegradable health monitoring units, flexible displays, and disposable sensor nodes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Journalnpj Flexible Electronics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Paper Electronics, Liquid Silicon, Thin-Film Transistors, Flexible Electronics

ID: 34060173