The field of organic electronics has progressed enormously in recent years as a result of worldwide activity in numerous research groups. Advances have been made both in the fields of device science and fabrication as well as in the underlying Chemistry, Physics, and Materials Science. The impact of this field continues to influence many adjacent disciplines such as nanotechnology, sensors, and photonics. The advances in organic electronics have generated a vi tal and growing interest in or ganic materials research, and could potentially revolutionize future electronic applications. Recently, Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Mike DeWine (R-OH) in troduced legislation to authorize funding up to $50M per year of a Next Generation Lighting Initiative (NGLI), based on light emitting diodes (LED?s) and organic light emitting diodes (OLED?s). The initiative, currently led by DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)/Building Technologies Program (BT), is expected to stimulate a major research and development effort in organic materials research for lighting and optoelectronic applications.
The growth of organic electronics has been impressive. The first commercial products were based on conducting polymer films, a business now with annual sales in the billion dollar range. OLED?s and displays based on OLED?s have been introduced to the scientific community more than a decade ago and to the market about half-dozen years
ago; a large expansion in market penetrati on has been forecasted for the next decade. Efficiencies of small molecule and polymeric OLED?s have reached figures close to their respective theoretical maxima. In addition, thin-film transistor based circuits, and electronic circuits incorporating several hundred devices on flexible substrates have been recently demonstrated. These levels of integr ation are sufficient for applications such as radio frequency identification tags. Organic transistors have also been successfully integrated with display elements and used as chemical sensors. Organic photodiodes have been fabricated with quantum efficiencies in excess of 50%, and organic solar cells with power conversion efficiencies over 5% have been reported. Organic solar cell efficiencies are expected to increase with improvements in materials design and with the implementation of more sophisticated device architecture. There have been major strides made in understanding the physics of charge transport, luminescence, and charge transfer; as well in understanding interfaces be tween organic materials, and also between metal electrodes and organics. There continue to be advances made in the synthesis of new compounds and in improved synthetic procedures of important materials. Another area that has seen a tremendous growth is the use of novel low-cost fabrication procedures for a variety of inexpensive orga nic electronic devices. Finally a new field in organic electronics has recently emerged, name ly organic spintronics, where the spin sense of injected carriers is preserved along the carrier drift distance; this field is novel and promises to be exciting. Organic spin-val ve devices have been already demonstrated at low temperature and the promise for a room temperature spin related device is high.
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