15 October 2017
Transparent displays for car windscreens, smart windows
Published online 21 July 2016
Scientists make versatile transparent materials for smart devices.
A research team has come up with fully transparent electronic circuits that perform well as transistors1.
The circuits were created using indium-free materials and alternating layers of transparent oxides and could potentially be used to create transparent displays, in addition to concealed circuits and sensors.
Before this, fully transparent circuits were made using oxides containing indium; expensive and inefficient.
Through a method called ‘atomic layer deposition’, scientists from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, sequentially stacked atomically thin layers of indium-free oxide materials. This enabled them to make transparent thin-film transistors, inverters and ring oscillators on transparent substrates made of glass and plastic.
The new transistors showed excellent stability during operation, according to the research.
They were also sensitive to fluctuating temperatures, unmasking their potential for use as temperature sensors. The inverters exhibited a very high voltage gain, whereas the ring oscillators showed a fast response cycle.
“The transparent devices will consume less power and find uses in head-up displays on car windscreens and smart windows in homes,” says principal researcher Husam N. Alshareef.
- Nayak, P. K., et al. Indium-free fully transparent electronics deposited entirely by atomic layer deposition. Adv. Mater. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201600503 (2016).