Feeds

Boffins build see-through chip

Transparently

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Scientists at the Oregon State University (OSU) have produced the world's first "completely transparent" integrated circuit using inorganic materials. The see-through transistor technology will revolutionise electronics, allowing circuitry to be integrated into items like windows, bottles, glasses and car windscreens. It will also boost LCD technology, the researchers say.

oregon state university transparent chip

There's a way to go yet: the OSU team have to work on scaling the technology and building a p-channel transistor devices, necessary to reduce the power consumption to allow it to process both analogue and digital information. Fortunately, they characterised these efforts as "very feasible".

"We might be able to bring transparent integrated circuits to widespread use in five years or so, a process that took a couple of decades in the early evolution of conventional electronics," said OSU electrical engineering professor John Wager.

OSU's test chip contains a five-stage ring oscillator. It was made out of indium gallium oxide using conventional photolithography techniques, the processes used to make most of the world's silicon chips, Wager said.

The researchers believe the transparent chips will be very cheap to make - even to the point to replacing products that don't need to be see-through. The scientists raised the prospect of disposable devices made from transparent chips, though they didn't address the environmental impact of such a shift.

Still, the potential for building circuitry into transparent media is huge, if the team can take the technology further along the path to commercialisation. In that they'll have the help of HP, which earlier this year licensed the rights to bring the technique to market. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.