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Bottom-up organic integrated circuits

A research team from The Netherlands, Austria, Russia, and Germany announced a breakthrough in the development of organic electronic integrated circuits in the October 16, 2008 issue of the journal Nature. Self-Assembled Monolayer Field Effect Transistors (SAMFETs) were used to build circuits including a 15-bit code generator consisting of over 300 transistors. A critical layer of the SAMFETs consisted of a single molecular layer of quinquethiophene molecules which self-assembled into an ordered two-dimensional crystal. Although they are not as small or as fast as state-of-the-art silicon transistors, the self-assembly of molecules into useful devices is considered the ultimate technology for mass production and this is an important demonstration of how self-assembly can be used in the fabrication of a complex circuit. Organic transistors such as this are most useful in applications where transistors are distributed over a large area such as they are in a display.

Oliver Werzer and Roland Resel of the Institute of Solid State Physics, TU Graz measured the degree of ordering of the molecules in the thin organic layer. This was done by shining an intense beam of x-rays on the molecular layer and observing the resulting diffraction peaks. The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble was used to generate the x-rays.

C. P. Smits et al., Bottom-up organic integrated circuits, Nature 455, pp. 956-959 (2008)