Published: 11 December 2018

ATI research paves way for high resolution screens and wearable sensors based on polysilicon

Research by Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) could enable the next generation of high performance – and even flexible – displays for large screens and Internet of Things devices.

Flexible smartphone

The research was published in Scientific Reports in December. It was led by Dr Radu Sporea, Lecturer in Semiconductor Devices in the ATI, and Luke Wheeler, who was then on a summer research placement organised by SATRO, an educational charity which aims to provide real life experience for young people in the STEM sectors.

Polysilicon is widely used to make the internal electronics for display screens but has naturally-occurring irregularities which makes it difficult to create a uniform display over a large area. In the latest work, researchers demonstrate that by controlling the amount of current in these polysilicon-based electronics using source-gated transistors (SGTs), it is possible to achieve uniform images over large areas. SGTs, which were pioneered at Surrey, offer an effective alternative to conventional transistors, with lower energy requirements and higher performance.

The technique could be used across a wide range of future technologies including high resolution portable displays and large area screens, as well as wearable devices and low power sensors for Internet of Things or medical applications.

Dr Radu Sporea commented: “We envisage this is an important ingredient for the next generation of high performance, and potentially flexible, displays using polycrystalline semiconductor technology.”

Luke Wheeler, who is now studying theoretical physics at the University of Birmingham, said: “Working with Dr Sporea in the ATI as a SATRO Summer Placement student provided me with an excellent insight into the world of academia, and allowed me to see how concepts can be envisaged, developed and spread. I’m glad that my project has provided a fertile basis for further research to grow from.” 

The paper, ‘Towards manufacturing high uniformity polysilicon circuits through TFT contact barrier engineering’, was published in Scientific Reports on 3 December 2018.


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