British and Italian scientists have developed a new circuit design to revolutionize the way wearables are manufactured.
According to the scientists from the universities of Surrey and Cambridge, and the National Research Institute in Rome, the pioneering circuit design uses an alternative type of device – the source-gated transistor (SGT) – to create compact circuit blocks.
Silicon-based electronics have become smaller and more efficient over a short period of time, leading to major advances in devices such as mobile phones.
The same, however, can’t be said about large-area electronics – such as display screens – as they rely on thin-film transistors (TFTs) that have serious limitations.
The Surrey-led study – published in IEEE Sensors Journal – has now shown that they can achieve the same functionality from two SGTs as would normally be the case from today’s devices that use roughly 12 TFTs – improving performance, reducing waste and making the new process far more cost effective.
The research team believes that the new fabrication process could result in a generation of ultralightweight, flexible electronics for wearables and sensors.
“We are entering what may be another golden age of electronics, with the arrival of 5G and IoT enabled devices,” notes lead author and Surrey lecturer, Dr Radu Sporea.
“However, the way we have manufactured many of our electronics has increasingly become overcomplicated and has hindered the performance of many devices.”
“Our design offers a much simpler build process than regular thin-film transistors,” contends Spores.
“Source-gated transistor circuits may also be cheaper to manufacture on a large scale because their simplicity means there is less waste in the form of rejected components.”
“This elegant design of large area electronics could result in future phones, fitness tracker or smart sensors that are energy efficient, thinner and far more flexible than the ones we are able to produce today.”
Image and content: Torsten Dettlaff/IEEE Sensors Journal via Eurekalert