High-performance thin-film transistors using semiconductor nanowires and nanoribbons

Abstract

Thin-film transistors (TFTs) are the fundamental building blocks for the rapidly growing field of macroelectronics1,2. The use of plastic substrates is also increasing in importance owing to their light weight, flexibility, shock resistance and low cost3,4. Current polycrystalline-Si TFT technology is difficult to implement on plastics because of the high process temperatures required1,2. Amorphous-Si and organic semiconductor5,6 TFTs, which can be processed at lower temperatures, but are limited by poor carrier mobility. As a result, applications that require even modest computation, control or communication functions on plastics cannot be addressed by existing TFT technology. Alternative semiconductor materials7,8 that could form TFTs with performance comparable to or better than polycrystalline or single-crystal Si, and which can be processed at low temperatures over large-area plastic substrates, should not only improve the existing technologies, but also enable new applications in flexible, wearable and disposable electronics. Here we report the fabrication of TFTs using oriented Si nanowire thin films or CdS nanoribbons as semiconducting channels. We show that high-performance TFTs can be produced on various substrates, including plastics, using a low-temperature assembly process. Our approach is general to a broad range of materials including high-mobility materials (such as InAs or InP).

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Figure 1: Nanowire TFT fabrication.
Figure 2: p-channel Si NW-TFT and n-channel CdS nanoribbon TFT.
Figure 3: NW-TFTs on plastic.
Figure 4: Complementary inverter constructed from NW and nanoribbon TFTs.

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Acknowledgements

We thank L. Bock and C. Chow for insights and support; D. Stumbo for discussions and opinions on the manuscript; Y. Pan and H. Liu for supplying Si/SiNx wafers; and C. M. Lieber, H. Park and P. McEuen for discussions.

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Correspondence to Xiangfeng Duan.

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The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

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