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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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  • wahey! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @09:19PM (#14961279) Journal
    What world are these people living in!? Mobile phones and a TV is not "throw away", a good TV will last 10-20 years if not more. Why would anyone in their right mind pay the price of a TV and considerit disaposable?
  • Re:Transparent? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @09:46PM (#14961395) Journal
    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?
    If they're using it in windshields, the chip's heat output is the last thing they have to worry about.

    The very first thing that they're going to have to engineer around is the chip's ability to withstand a constant barrage of UV radiation & high temps. If it can't handle summer time, it's heat output is irrelevant for automotive (and potentially other) use.
  • Skeptical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JBEdgeworth ( 962496 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @10:17PM (#14961527)
    I, for one, am skeptical about OSU's research with regards to the IC's utility in the field of conventional electron-beam lithography. To engrave features onto the IC at a sub-micrometre level, how would the substrate of the IC, with its importunate properties of inelasticity, respond to the photomasks at 193nm? What would become of the mass production of these compounds? I'm not saying the article is wholly without merit, but I remain a little skeptical about the IC's practical uses in production.
  • Re:wahey! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kebes ( 861706 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @10:19PM (#14961532) Journal
    Well the idea with disposable electronics/devices is that the manufacturing is cheaper and the end devices cost so little that they are disposable. The 'dream' of those working on these devices is that they become so cheap that they replace things like billboards and flyers and so forth. Basically you can hand out "disposable paper-thin TVs" on the street as advertising. Many consumers like the idea of being able to easily replace their devices. (TV doesn't quite fit the new decor of your living room? Just throw it out and buy a new one...) I think it's pretty obvious that there will be a consumer demand for cheaper, disposable devices.

    What worries me much more is the obvious environmental impact. Society has made some progress over the last decade to be more "environmentally friendly" yet new directions like this one just push us ever further towards a fully "disposable society."
  • Re:ARG!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mahou ( 873114 ) <{made_up_address_} {at} {}> on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:27PM (#14961756) Journal
    if it is a noun then don't use it as a qualifying adjective (what kind of display? an lcd display!) just use it as a noun, LCD. it is what it is. and it is a kind of display. so you're completely wrong.
    PIN is the word for the number, no need to remind people that it's a number. there's no such thing as a PIN hieroglyph, PIN doodle, or PIN secret handshake
    ATM is the word for the machine, no need to remind people it's a machine. there's no such thing as a ATM dog, ATM grocer, or ATM baseball bat
    NIC is a type of card, etc.

    just because a bunch of people say it doesn't mean it's right.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:43PM (#14961807) Journal
    Yes, exactly what we need: a solar cell that actually absorbs *none* of the light that hits it.

    That's not the point.

    The semiconductor would absorb photons at or above the bandgap (NOT being transparent at that frequency) and pass those at lower frequencies without attenuation. Thus a stack of junctions at progressively lower bandgaps can get better use of the light - since the energy above the bandgap in the layer where the photon is absorbed is lost.

    Making a completely transparent (to light below the bandgap) solar cell allows the light propagating to lower layers do do so efficiently. It also allows the CELLS to be stacked, substrate and all, if the materials are incompatable and can't all be layered on one substrate.

    So it COULD be a VERY useful improvement in solar cell technology.

    (Another thing that would make it useful is if it is CHEAP to manufacture. Solar is getting better but is still not cost-competitive with grid power except in remote locations and small devices such as roadsigns.)
  • Re:ARG!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joe Random ( 777564 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @02:22AM (#14962211)
    As pointed out above, that is incorrect; you're combining two seperate acronyms.
    LED = Light Emitting Diode.
    LCD = Liquid Crystal Display.

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