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World's First Completely Transparent IC 225

An anonymous reader writes "DeviceForge is reporting that researchers at Oregon State University claim to have created the worlds first 'completely transparent' ICs (integrated circuit) from inorganic compounds. From the article: 'The technology can enable extremely inexpensive electronics for use in "throw away" devices, and is expected to be used in automobile windshields, cell phones, TVs, games, and toys, among other applications, OSU said. OSU also believes that the technology might result in more efficient solar cells or improvements and LCD displays (liquid crystal displays), it said.'"
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World's First Completely Transparent IC

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  • ARG!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by forand (530402) on Monday March 20, 2006 @08:16PM (#14961268) Homepage
    Okay you know that it is Liquid Crystal Display but you say LCD Displays! Come on editors someone should have caught that and changed it so it doesn't look so bad.
  • See through .. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by karvind (833059) <karvind AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 20, 2006 @08:21PM (#14961288) Journal
    Very cool indeed. I have worked on glass substrates for TFT related applications in my grad studies. I tell you one thing, it is very hard to tell which side is up and which side is down. Many times in the beginning I had put the wafer upside down just to find out it didn't deposit certain thing or etch on the right side. Finally I managed to put a visible mark which would only read correct from one side and got around. Now if you make transparent ICs, how do you go about aligning one layer to another in lithography (common step in IC fabrication). I hope they don't make transparent ICs on transparent substrates - that would be quite a fun.
  • Transparent? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday March 20, 2006 @08:23PM (#14961296) Journal
    They looked translucent to me (of course, I have no idea how the slides were prepared in the pics, and whether they indicate the working product).

    I'm also curious as to

    I'm curious as to how much heat these suckers will generate -- the obvious 'transparent' uses would, I imagine, need them to be encased in glass or protective transparent cases. The windshield mentioned, for example -- how quickly would heat build to the point of damaging the IC?

    My second question is why these ICs would be any better than opaque ICs for throwaway use? Are they cheaper to manufacture, even scaled to billions of chips? Aren't normal ICs pretty maskable with film coverings?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are applications where this could be very useful, but I'm not sure that even if development is completed, there would ever be enough demand to make these useful for anything other than niche applications.

    Then again, 512k should be enough memory for anyone, and there will never be a market for more than five computers in the US.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, 2006 @08:37PM (#14961353)
    My first thought on reading this is that there might be significant espionage applications for this kind of thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, 2006 @08:39PM (#14961361)
    So then... why exactly is it not only *visible* in the photos, but *strongly colored*? When I think of the words "completely transparent" I don't think "colored plastic you can kind of see through if you squint".

    Also: What does being transparent have to do with being throw-away? Or are they just stating "transparent" and "cheap/disposable" as two positive qualities of their creation?
  • Give me my HUD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amliebsch (724858) on Monday March 20, 2006 @08:42PM (#14961372) Journal
    I'm crossing my fingers that this might eventually result in a transparent LED. Think of the display possibilities!
  • Windshields??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jamesh (87723) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @01:00AM (#14962171)
    So instead of tucking away the electronics in a relatively secure place in your car (it's not like there isn't room), you stick it in the great big piece of breakable glass in the front of the car, which is expensive enough to replace anyway? And have you ever fitted a windscreen to a car? Lining up the contacts would be a btich.

    There are lots of places where transparent electronics could really improve a product, but I don't think a car windshield is one of them (unless you are talking HUD, but there are better ways of achieving that anyway so i assume you aren't)

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe