CORVALLIS, Ore. Researchers at Oregon State University have solved a quest in fundamental material science that has eluded scientists since the 1960s, and could form the basis of a new approach to electronics.
The discovery, just reported online in the professional journal Advanced Materials, outlines the creation for the first time of a high-performance "metal-insulator-metal" diode.
"Researchers have been trying to do this for decades, until now without success," said Douglas Keszler, a distinguished professor of chemistry at OSU and one of the nation's leading material science researchers. "Diodes made previously with other approaches always had poor yield and performance.
"This is a fundamental change in the way you could produce electronic products, at high speed on a huge scale at very low cost, even less than with conventional methods," Keszler said. "It's a basic way to eliminate the current speed limitations of electrons that have to move through materials."
A patent has been applied for on the new technology, university officials say. New companies, industries and high-tech jobs may ultimately emerge from this advance, they say.
The research was done in the Center for Green Materials Chemistry, and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Laboratory and the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute.
Conventional electronics made with silicon-based materials work with transistors that help control the flow of electrons. Although fast and comparatively inexpensive, this approach is still limited by the speed with which electrons can move through these materials. And with the advent of ever-faster computers and more sophisticated products such as liquid crystal displays, current technologies are nearing the limit of what they can do, experts say.
By contrast, a metal-insulator-metal, or MIM diode can be used to perform some of the same functions, but
|Contact: Douglas Keszler|
Oregon State University