Coverage of IEDM 2003: Day 1

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Wearable Computer: Organic Transistor on Fiber, A First Step Toward Electronic Textiles


Figure 1 – FETs on Fibers

In session 8.3, researcher Josephine Lee from Berkeley presented a proof of concept demonstration transistor based organic Pentacene and created on Aluminum gate wires. The transistor currently requires relatively high voltage to operate (~20V), and the transistors currently cannot be weaved into a true fabric due to the relatively inflexibility of the gate wires (performance degradation of the transistor with tensile pressure on the fiber-based FET). Research is currently targeted at creating an actual circuit, once the mechanical reliability issues of the transistor could be solved. The researcher believes that once these problems are solved, circuits could be built by using a 2-D mesh of organic transistors woven together as a wearable fabric. No one asked what would happen when it rained, although she was asked about the tolerance of Pentacene in the presence of organic solvents in a washing machine. The question remains unanswered, as research is in progress. For more information, visit the Organics group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Robot Skin: Integration of Field-Effect Transistors and Rubbery Pressure Sensors for Artificial Skin Applications


Figure 2 – Artificial Skin Using Transistors as Pressure Sensors

Paper 8.4 continued on the theme of building organic transistors on a Pentacene substrate. The robot skin shown above uses a conceptually simple arrangement, where arrays of Pentacene based organic transistors were constructed with a layer of pressure sensitive rubbery film. In areas where pressure is applied, the rubbery film becomes conductive, and allows the organic transistors to switch on. By reading out the bit patterns of the sensor array, it can be determined where the pressure was applied.


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