Researchers at The University of Manchester and Shandong University in China have developed a nanoscale transistor that will be one step closer to enabling the creation of flexible televisions, phones, and tablets as well as ‘truly wearable’ smart tech.

The international team has created an ultrafast, nanoscale transistor – called a thin film transistor (TFT) – composed of an oxide semiconductor. The TFT is the first oxide-semiconductor based transistor that can operate at a benchmark speed of 1 GHz. This could make the next generation electronic devices even brighter, faster, and more flexible than earlier ones.

A TFT is a type of transistor typically used in an LCD. These can be found in most advanced devices with LCD screens such as smartphones, high-definition televisions, and tablets.

How do they function? The LCD features a TFT behind each and every pixel and they serve as separate switches that allow the pixels to alter state rapidly, making them switch on and off a lot more quickly.

But a majority of existing TFTs are silicon-based which are opaque, rigid, and expensive compared to the oxide semiconductor series of transistors which the collaborative team is developing. While oxide TFTs will enhance the picture on LCD displays, it is their flexibility that is even more remarkable.

Aimin Song, Professor of Nanoelectronics in the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, The University of Manchester, states: “TVs can already be made extremely thin and bright. Our work may help make TV more mechanically flexible and even cheaper to produce.

Image Credit:  The University of Manchester