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Researchers Study How to Avoid Charge Traps in Plastic Electronics

By Georgia Tech News

July 31, 2012

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Charge traps in plastic electronics have a common underlying mechanism, and this finding has led to a theoretical framework for designing electronics without traps, according to a new study by researchers from Georgia Tech and the University of Groningen.

Computational investigation of the electronic architecture of a broad spectrum of charge traps revealed that "the energy level of the traps measured experimentally matches that produced by a water-oxygen complex," says Georgia Tech professor Jean-Luc Bredas.

Researcher Herman Nicolai notes the introduction of such a complex could be easily facilitated during the fabrication of the semiconductor material. The similar energy level exhibited by traps makes calculation of the expected electron current in different plastic materials possible, and also shows a pathway toward trap-free materials.

"If chemists could design semiconducting polymers in which the trap energy is above that of the higher orbital in which the electrons move through the material, they couldn't fall in," Nicolai says. "In this case, the energy level of the trap would be higher than that of the electron."

The study's outcome has implications for raising the efficiency of plastic light-emitting diodes as well as plastic solar cells.

From Georgia Tech News
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