ARS Technica reports researchers of the Korea Electronics Technology Institute in Seongnam, South Korea, have managed to fabricate flexible electronics chips at room-temperature using ultraviolet (UV) light. The technology solves the problem that metal oxide fabrication requires 350°C, a temperature above the melting point of most flexible, transparent substances that can be used to as a substrate.
Full details ove rhere.
A new method for making metal oxide devices at much lower temperatures uses ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. Yong-Hoon Kim and colleagues used UV light to chemically activate metal particles in a chemical solution; the new metal oxide molecules condensed out of the solution, forming a thin semiconducting film. The process can be performed at room temperature—far lower than the 350° temperatures typical of metal oxide fabrication.
Besides the awesomeness factor (itself probably a sufficient reason for most Ars Technica readers), flexible and transparent electronics are potentially useful in medical, transportation, and scientific applications. Conventional semiconductor materials don't work in the thin films required for flexible electronics because they are too brittle. Current organic semiconductors are electronically unstable when stressed and are not efficient at conducting charge, so they are not particularly useful for large-scale implementation.