SILICON is the main active material in most electronic gadgets such as TVs, laptops and iPads.
There are many drawbacks associated with silicon technology, in particular the high manufacturing costs and high temperature processing (well over 1000degC for long periods).
This not only makes the technology expensive but also has harmful effects on the environment.
For these reasons scientists and engineers started to look at new sources for manufacturing electronic components.
The breakthrough came when Alan J Heeger, Alan G MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa discovered and developed conductive polymers in 1977. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in the year 2000, and after that many scientists followed their work to start what we call now plastic (or organic) electronic technology.
Organic electronics is a relatively new field of electronics in which the structures of electronic components, such as diodes, capacitors and transistors, are based on organic materials.
The main interest in this technology is the possibilities it offers for manufacturing electronic circuits at low cost, with environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
Although there is much research and development in this field, organic electronics has not yet achieved the quality you get from silicon based devices.
However, the technology has reached the market in the form of the flexible display films used in some mobile phones and a few other applications.
For organic electronics to realise its full potential, it is essential a key basic circuit element is developed - the memory cell.
In my research at Bangor University we focus on the development of new types of organic memory devices that can combine the …