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The Development Of Organic Electronics

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Everyone in the tech world has been excited about their favourite brands latest products recently.  Apple have the iPhone 5, Samsung the S3 and new Galaxy Tab and recently both HTC and Sharp announced new “next generation” screens that offer even higher resolutions.  Yet perhaps these companies should be looking elsewhere for their new technologies.  One of the major selling points of Sharp’s new Igzo technology is its power usage – it can display sharper images while using less power than previous screens – yet there is a branch of technology that has been producing screens that use a fraction of the power these high definition LCDs and LEDs use for a while yet.  We’re talking, of course, of organic electronics.

Carbon is the Source of LifeThe field took off after the 1977 discovery that polyacetylene can be oxidized (for which the scientists involved were awarded the Noble prize), leading to the inevitable dreams of completely flexible and adaptable devices.  Now, however, those dreams are becoming closer and closer thanks to advances in the field.

While modern smartphones have their high definition non-organic screens, there are devices out there that have a more flexible approach. EReaders have displays that reflect light, meaning that they can survive weeks on one charge, compared to the hours your iPhone can.  While eReaders are yet to show colour, the technology for colour displays is getting closer and closer.  Along with their reduced power consumption, these displays offer another highly desirable feature: they’re fully flexible.  As the display is made from organic materials, it can be bent and flexed as much as you’d like without damage.  Compared to the Gorilla glass that is currently popular, this is a major step up.  Instead of creating a screen that gets harder and harder to break, organic electronic screens are so flexible that should you drop it or step on it, the screen is going to survive completely intact.  They can even be cut in half, so long as the signal can still pass to the cut off molecules.

The adaptation of organic electronics into consumer technology is getting closer every day.  While the screen technology is still unable to provide the kind of definition that the public craves nor the ability to display true video playback, in the past few years alone these have become viable short term goals.  The smartphone market is again moving away into the “added features” world: further away from the less-is-more fights that dominated the pre-smartphone market.  Once these added features become the norm again these products are inevitably going to look towards cheaper and more durable alternatives. While a rich businessman may be able to afford a phone every year, most of the world would prefer a device that can survive a lifetime.  Organic electronics has the potential to shape the future of mobile devices.

The adaptation of organic electronics into consumer technology is getting closer every day.  While the screen technology is still unable to provide the kind of definition that the public craves nor the ability to display true video playback, in the past few years alone these have become viable short term goals.  The smartphone market is again moving away into the “added features” world: further away from the less-is-more fights that dominated the pre-smartphone market.  Once these added features become the norm again these products are inevitably going to look towards cheaper and more durable alternatives.  While a rich businessman may be able to afford a phone every year, most of the world would prefer a device that can survive a lifetime.  Organic electronics has the potential to shape the future of mobile devices.

Jennifer Coyer is likes to write about everything what catches her interest but mainly she writes about technology, tablets and phones. When she is not writing or researching she likes to unwind with a book.

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