[Researcher of the Month] The High Mobility of Single-Crystal Nanowires Opens Potential for Future Displays
Professor Sung Myung-mo (Department of Chemistry)
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Semiconductors have become indispensable in our daily lives as we use electronic goods almost every moment. In those goods, most of the semiconductors used are inorganic semiconductors, with occasional exceptions of organic semiconductors. This is because the former is far superior in conduction velocity than the latter. In response to the latter's inferiority, Professor Sung Myung-mo (Department of Chemistry), in his paper "Single-Crystal Poly Nanowires with Ultrahigh Mobility," have introduced a single-crystal nanowire using the newly created polymer called PCDTPT and increased the electrical coductivity of organic semiconductors by more than 10 times.
The organic semiconductor has two noticeable advantages when it comes to applications in electronics. First, it is flexible, and it can be made into solution form. However, it is not yet widely used because it lacks in its mobility compared to inorganics. Also, it has the downside of being unsafe since it is organic matter. However, after Sung's research, humanity has come one step closer to the possibility of substituting inorganic semiconductors, now that the mobility performance of organic semiconductors has significantly increased.
Organic semiconductors can be divided into small molecules and polymers. Organic semiconductor polymer is called conducting polymers, which means that the organic matter contains conductivity. Mobility is the speed per second that the transistor moves. The mobility has increasedby more than 10 times, overturning the previous notion that an organic matter cannot have high mobility. Here, the mobility is important because it is frequently used in transistors and decides the working speed.
It only took Sung and his team about six months to deduct the research results, because they had already accumulated research needed to facilitate the process. One of the major research prjoects that they have been looking into over the past 10 years was the Nano Patterning method. It is the technology needed to make nano-sized sticks, with which matters that cannot be made into single crystal forms can transform with the creation of a nano-sized wire. They learned that the mobility increased when they made nanowire single crystals.
The question on the surface may be, "How did the mobility increase by over 10 fold?" They predict that it is due to the unique structure of PCDTPT crystals. In existing conducting polymers, which are molecules that have the shape of a thin board, the molecules align next to each other and the conduction takes place sideways. In the case of PCDTPT crystals, however, it takes a vertical direction that differs by 90 degrees from the established conducting polymers.
Samsung first created OLED electronics, made of organic semiconductors and it caught the attention of the global market due to its thin, lightweight structural characteristics, and low-power technology. While it seemed impossible at the time, it is now an ongoing research project that the world may conveniently be using as everyday technology in the future. “Persistence is the most important factor a researcher must have. Never give up, even if it seems unlikely that the research will succeed,” advised Sung to future researchers of Hanyang.
Kim Hyun-soo firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon
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