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Technology Hardware

The First Paper-Based Transistors 177

Roland Piquepaille found news of research out of Portugal that has resulted in the first paper-based transistors (the original article is less informative than Roland's blog). More precisely, they've made the first field effect transistors (FET) with a paper interstrate layer. According to the research team, such transistors offer the same level of performance as 'state-of-the-art, oxide-based thin film transistors produced on glass or crystalline silicon substrates.' Possible applications include disposable electronics devices, such as paper displays, smart labels, bio-applications or RFID tags. The research will be published in IEEE Electron Device Letters in September.
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The First Paper-Based Transistors

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  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by eebra82 ( 907996 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:55PM (#24295109) Homepage
    Coming soon, the 5 MHz toilet paper.
  • Paper batteries? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:57PM (#24295159)
    Maybe they could go with paper batteries? [] Google "paper batteries" for a hundred other links to the same and related stories/technologies.
  • Now if only they could locate my car keys. I left them near that tree over there, but it's gone too.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There was an article published many years ago in an Australian electronics magazine which described 'printegrated circuits'.

    I forget which year it was, but it was the April issue.

  • Origami! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Finally, an origrami computer that might be useful!
    • The Paper! (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Have you not seen Read Or Die [] ? The Paper Master is able to do all things.
  • messages that really can self destruct. A little over-current jolt and fzzzzzzzt!
  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:00PM (#24295203) Homepage Journal

    The INTERSTRATE layer is paper now. In a normal FET, the whole thing has a doped silicon substrate functioning as the grid and body, with a (say) metal oxide semiconductor in between as an insulator (interstrate) (MOSFET). They replaced the MOS with paper. It's still a hunk of silicon.

  • Hmmm ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SlashDev ( 627697 )
    ... I wonder what static electricity will do to these paper FETs.
  • I'd imagine there's have to be some way of sealing these to prevent moisture and humidity from affecting them. It'd be nice if the sealing compound was biodegradable, too... at least to a lesser extent than the paper. Wax, perhaps?
  • by BitterOldGUy ( 1330491 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:07PM (#24295307)
    but this will put even more demand on forests and the farming of trees - they grow too slow to keep up with the potential demand of these products (Just think of how many electronic devices are made and you know that disposable ones are going to sell like hotcakes!).

    What they really need to do is use something very common; like, I don't know, sand. That's assuming they can come up with the technology. I know, I know. I'm dreaming.

    • by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:18PM (#24295467) Homepage

      but this will put even more demand on forests and the farming of trees - they grow too slow to keep up with the potential demand of these products...

      Yeah using a renewable and easily managed resource is obviously a terrible idea... Wait, no it's a fantastic idea, I grew up surrounded by a managed forest [] and while it may stunt growth in the short term the fact is it left us with countryside to be proud of and long term economic activities, especially when you read of developments such as this.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by roman_mir ( 125474 )

        I would like my transistors in cherry wood. I know some prefer oak and some go with cedar and, o humanity, some less discriminating folks will be going for the cheaper soft woods, like pine. In any case, I'll take mine well polished, stained and with a good satin finish.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by verbamour ( 1308787 )

        Two variants I want to see:

        1) Hemp-based transistors (it's good enough for The Constitution)

        2) Flash-paper (nitrocellulose) transistors. That will give that extra incentive not to design circuits that run too hot... Or, the ultimate in hardware-based, tamper-proof, and retributive circuitry.

      • The problem is (and I'm sorry for mentioning it) is capitalism, where there is a potential to make money... all else (at least until recently with green being a good moneymaker) goes out the window. I know I'm not the only one who is seeing this. Please comment :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by compro01 ( 777531 )

      Paper can be made out of a lot more things than trees. Hemp for instance.

    • Bamboo makes paper, and anyone who's ever planted the stuff in their yard will tell you that the trick is NOT growing too much.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by EchaniDrgn ( 1039374 )

      But then we'll have a dependence on foreign sand. I mean, we can't use our beach sand, or the sand from our national parks...

    • by Darkk ( 1296127 )

      I remember a few years ago some company dreamed up disposable cell phone using thin cardboard paper. I'm so glad they threw this idea in the recycling bin on the desktop.

      We don't need unnecessary waste in our landfills.

  • obvious uses.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:09PM (#24295329)
    "no, I am a genuine 5$ bill!"

    "I will not display the next page of the book until you watch this advert in full"

    paper airplane, and UAV in one

    smart toilet paper (ugh!)

    Q's wet dream

    interactive wall paper

    disposable smart ID badges

    party hats with a difference..

    "I am your tenth cigarette this hour!"

    any more? can anybody think of sinister possible uses?
    • The Dilbert cartoon foresaw the coming of supercomputers made entirely of recycled paper!
    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      "Yes, you are voting for Al Gore."

      "I'm sorry, you double-voted for Al Gore and Pat Buchanan. Please destroy this ballot and request another."

      "Excuse me, did you mean to leave this chad hanging?"

      This technology is going to be here at least a decade too late...

    • Just imagine beeing able to build extremely cheap wireless mesh routers and sticking them to every lamp-post in a city. You'd instantly have a completely unregulated network free of lawyers and companies and free to use.

      This is actually simmilar to the microcomputer revolution. At first people only thought about putting those into mundane applications like microwave ovens or TV-sets, later people buildt their own computers around those chips, spurring the real revolution. I believe the same will happen here

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:09PM (#24295333)

    to make sure the circuit never reaches 451F

  • Oh Crap (Score:2, Funny)

    Great. Now a ream of paper will have RFID in every sheet. How am I going to print all my Revolution flyers?
  • some other inventions from portugal:

    - convertible submarine
    - windshield wipers (americans improved them by placing them on the outside)
    - helicopter with ejector seat
    - solar powered flashlight

    ok, i confess. i'm brasilian. couldn't resist joking, mod me down at will

    • - helicopter with ejector seat

      That's really done actually, at least it was at one point. The main rotors were held on with explosive bolts, IIRC, so that they could destruct before the pilot got to them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FinchWorld ( 845331 )
      If memory serves some helicopters do have ejection seats, upon them activating charges placed on the base of the blades go off to ensure your not shredded. As for solar powered flashlights, well very nearly there are solar powered garden lights that charge up in the day and turn on at night. Also the Squba is an amphibious convertible, though only one working prototype exists costing 1.5 million to build. Internal windshield wipers? Hmmmm, afraid not, though Im sure someone will find some.

      You error was und

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kalpol ( 714519 )
        A friend of mine has a 1959 Lancia Flaminia that has windshield wipers on the inside back window, for defrosting.
      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        I have a rather nice solar powered 6-LED flashlight that was given to me as a gift some four years ago. Works very well too, as long as I remember to leave it on the windowsill once a year or so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by leoxx ( 992 )

      A solar powered flashlight (and its close cousin, the wind powered fan) make a lot of sense, so long as there is a battery in there to store the energy.

    • Of course the last two actually exist...

    • you forgot
      - the tricycle with four-wheel drive
      - the waterproof sundial

      • by Bender_ ( 179208 )

        >the waterproof sundial

        Useful in a fountain or pool

        >the tricycle with four-wheel drive

        Tough one... The fourth wheel is above the front wheel so the trike can flip upside down without losing traction?

    • by Bender_ ( 179208 )

      >convertible submarine []

      You are really not trying hard enough.

    • So Portugal is the new Poland?

      • portugal is for brasilians what poland is for you.

        unfortunately for my karma, moderators here seems to have lost any sense of humor.

        let's try it again:

        "Maria was trying to light the stove without success. so she yelled to manuel:

        - Manual, the matchsticks aren't working.

        Manuel replied:

        - That's not possible Maria. I tested each one of them earlier and they worked alright!"

    • The best part is that ALL of these are real and good inventions. I'm on a modem right now so I won't be finding the link at the moment but there are numerous convertible-submarine pleasure craft of varying sizes (including a yacht or two) operating out there in the world right now. Solar-powered flashlights are now common (batteries are good) and the helicopters with ejection seats discard their rotors with explosive bolts before firing. The wipers are covered here [] (bad link etiquette, sorry.)

      This is why I

  • Pssh... (Score:2, Funny)

    by iveygman ( 1303733 )
    ...this research isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
  • Folding (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rui del-Negro ( 531098 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:59PM (#24295995) Homepage

    The same research team also said they would be releasing a CPU (codenamed "Origami") based on these transistors. It's optimised for F@H.

  • Prediction: American, paper-based computers will be printed on Letter paper, but European computers will use A4 paper, thus leading to worldwide incompatibilities.
  • rorists"...

    i guess that was transistory thought...

  • Not the first (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bender_ ( 179208 ) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:40PM (#24296453) Journal

    The first transistors on paper have been published in 2005: []

    There is also a paper by the same authors, which I can not find right now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PhysicsPhil ( 880677 )

      The patent you link to uses paper as the substrate material for the transistor. In layman's terms, the paper in that article simply provides structural stability transistor on the paper surface. In some sense, the paper in that device could be replaced by a silicon wafer, a plank of wood or some concrete--it just keeps everything together.

      The new work has the paper providing not only structural stability but also acting as the insulator for the FET. Usually the insulator would be silicon dioxide, a hig

      • by Bender_ ( 179208 )

        >as the insulator for the FET.

        Oh, really? I must have misunderstood the article.

        >All jokes about smart toilet paper aside, this is big-league stuff

        No, this is not big league stuff, this looks more like a Science toy. Nice idea and good for a publication, but no immediate real world application.

        Unless they manage to thin down the insulator to a thickness of 250 nm (thats 1/1000 of a typical paper sheet) or less it is pretty useless due to insufficient channel modulation - even for thin film transistors

    • Back in 2000, Bell Labs [] came out with something similar. They produced n and p type transistors out of plastic based materials and could be printed on with techniques used for paper.

      Plastic circuits that have both n-type and p-type transistors would be useful in certain high-volume applications. Besides roll-up display screens and smart cards, other potential uses include luggage tags that help airport personnel locate lost suitcases, or tags on groceries that verify whether they were transported under the

  • ...I gotta print an MP3 player and load a couple of songs. Be ready to go in a sec. :oD

  • Dollar$, Dollar$ (Score:2, Interesting)

    by meeya ( 1152133 )
    Print smart money,
  • The next thing you know accountants start shredding their hard-copies and their soft-copies.

  • ohnoitsroland (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Danny Rathjens ( 8471 ) <`gro.snejhtar' `ta' `2todhsals'> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @07:05PM (#24296735)
    Surely the real news is that Roland actually added correct content to an article rather than simply copied some pieces and made an inflammatory, catchy /. submission to get more hits on his "make money fast by blogging" blog?
    I think it will take more than one or two decent submission to redeem himself of all the crap submissions that caused all the agitation for the ability to filter posts by submitter and the creation of firefox add-ons specifically for filtering him.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rastoboy29 ( 807168 )
      lol.  you think he's a person?  he's the slashdot editors, or publisher, or something in between.

      think...why does he keep getting front page stories?  because they like helping jerks?  no--they like helping themselves.
  • If you thought the media corps bitch about piracy.....

    Just wait and see what the electronics industry say when they start losing business to people pirating electronic products with their printer.

    Of course, as a printer is electronics, even the pirating machines could be pirated!

    (No, of course I haven't read the article :) )

  • A tree hugger would be worried at this point.

    Would this be classified as going green? HA!

  • with disk encryption. Just buy a lighter- burn current memory, pull another DIMM off the pad, insert, you're back in business.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @12:29AM (#24299209) Homepage Journal

    Paper is an interesting substrate, because it's cheap, but also because it's a renewable resource. It literally grows on trees. It's an interesting development because it's carbon, not a silicon material. It's not even made from plastic, which we have to make from oil. Which means that it could be made from the extra pollution we suck out of the air - the old fashioned way: growing it in the ground.

    What will be really interesting is if we can match that innovation by printing organic inks onto the paper to make the rest of the transistors. Carbon based "wires" on the substrate. Preferably grown from plants (or algae - I'm not picky). See if we can't grow our microelectronics, rather than manufacture it, and cut out most of the waste and pollution, while perhaps making fairly durable objects that can be easily recycled into the environment by just burying them in soil. Atop which we grow the next generation.

  • Does this mean we'll have self-destructing documents for secret note passing? Will spies have to worry about getting blown up accidentally like Chief Quimby?
  • This could mean a whole new era for communion wafers.
  • The most serious materials scarcity issue which exists with transistors is not the silicon (of which there is plenty lying around), but rather, the trace metals which are used in the semiconductor doping. These trace metals are engangered and reserves of them will begin to be depleted in as soon as 10 years. Germanium for instance is predicted to become extinct in little as 10 years. The idea of a disposable semiconductor device is very disturbing as all trace metal material needs to be recycled and reused

  • My dog ate my computer

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