The use of organic polymers for electronic functions is mainly motivated by the low-end applications, where low cost rather than advanced performance is a driving force. Materials and processing methods must allow for cheap production. Printing of electronics using inkjets1 or classical printing methods has considerable potential to deliver this. Another technology that has been around for millennia is weaving using fibres. Integration of electronic functions within fabrics, with production methods fully compatible with textiles, is therefore of current interest, to enhance performance and extend functions of textiles2. Standard polymer field-effect transistors require well defined insulator thickness and high voltage3, so they have limited suitability for electronic textiles. Here we report a novel approach through the construction of wire electrochemical transistor (WECT) devices, and show that textile monofilaments with 10–100 μm diameters can be coated with continuous thin films of the conducting polythiophene poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), and used to create micro-scale WECTs on single fibres. We also demonstrate inverters and multiplexers for digital logic. This opens an avenue for three-dimensional polymer micro-electronics, where large-scale circuits can be designed and integrated directly into the three-dimensional structure of woven fibres.
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These investigations were financially supported by the Centre of Organic Electronics (COE) at Linköping University, Sweden, financed by the Strategic Research Foundation SSF. We thank W.-Y. Lin for electrical measurements on single WECTs and monofilaments, M. Asplund for discussions and K. Hamedi for graphic design. Textile fibres were kindly donated by Shakespeare, UK, and IFP Research, Mölndal, Sweden.
A patent application on this technology has been submitted by the authors.
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Hamedi, M., Forchheimer, R. & Inganäs, O. Towards woven logic from organic electronic fibres. Nature Mater 6, 357–362 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat1884
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