The quest for electronic devices made from soft organic materials

August 04, 2016 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
The near future holds the promise of soft electronic devices such as smartwatches made out of soft organic materials instead of the existing rigid inorganic materials.

Conducting polymers are a promising candidate that could be utilized for these next-generation applications because they are malleable, lightweight, and can conduct electricity, although their charge carrier mobility is intrinsically lower than that of inorganic materials.

To this end, various studies have focused on how to boost the speed at which the charge carriers move in conducting polymers. Many researchers have attempted to enhance the charge carrier mobility by increasing polymers' crystallinity, which is the degree of structural order. However, this approach is inherently restrictive in terms of mechanical properties. In other words, an increase in the crystallinity results in a decrease of the mechanical resilience, at least according to the conventional norm.

To solve this dilemma a team of researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), consisting of professors Taiho Park and Chan Eon Park with their students Sung Yun Son and Yebyeol Kim, have developed a low crystalline conducting polymer that shows high-field effect mobility. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of American Chemical Society.