Article | Published:

Low-power carbon nanotube-based integrated circuits that can be transferred to biological surfaces

Nature Electronicsvolume 1pages237245 (2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

Integrated circuits that can be interfaced with biological systems could expand the function of electronic devices, providing, for example, advanced forms of monitoring, diagnosis and therapy in clinical applications. However, limitations in the performance of electronic devices on flexible or biodegradable substrates constrain the complexity and power dissipation of such devices. Here, we report carbon nanotube-based thin-film transistors and integrated circuits that can be transferred to arbitrary surfaces. We show that this wafer-scale platform can be transferred to biodegradable polymers, plant leaves and a person's wrist, and demonstrate the operation of the transferred devices and circuits on a curved plant leaf. Our nanotube thin-film transistors on biodegradable flexible substrates have ultralow power consumption with an off-state current as low as 0.1 pA μm−1, a subthreshold swing of 62 mV dec−1, and a static power consumption of 2.5 × 10−13 W in an inverter. The thin-film transistors also exhibit highly uniform performance with an 80 mV standard deviation in the threshold voltages. Furthermore, we constructed a full adder integrated circuit, with rail-to-rail outputs and a read-only memory, on a flexible substrate that can be driven by a small single supply voltage of 2 V.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Additional information

Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

References

  1. 1.

    Schwartz, G. et al. Flexible polymer transistors with high pressure sensitivity for application in electronic skin and health monitoring. Nat. Commun. 4, 1859 (2013).

  2. 2.

    Fang, H. et al. Capacitively coupled arrays of multiplexed flexible silicon transistors for long-term cardiac electrophysiology. Nat. Biomed. Eng. 1, 0038 (2017).

  3. 3.

    Reeder, J. et al. Mechanically adaptive organic transistors for implantable electronics. Adv. Mater. 26, 4967–4973 (2014).

  4. 4.

    Dagdeviren, C. et al. Conformal piezoelectric systems for clinical and experimental characterization of soft tissue biomechanics. Nat. Mater. 14, 728–736 (2015).

  5. 5.

    Webb, R. et al. Ultrathin conformal devices for precise and continuous thermal characterization of human skin. Nat. Mater. 12, 938–944 (2013).

  6. 6.

    Kang, S. et al. Bioresorbable silicon electronic sensors for the brain. Nature 530, 71–76 (2016).

  7. 7.

    Lee, H. et al. A graphene-based electrochemical device with thermoresponsive microneedles for diabetes monitoring and therapy. Nat. Nanotech. 11, 566–572 (2016).

  8. 8.

    Kim, J. et al. Stretchable silicon nanoribbon electronics for skin prosthesis. Nat. Commun. 5, 5747 (2014).

  9. 9.

    Kim, D. et al. Epidermal electronics. Science 333, 838–843 (2011).

  10. 10.

    Kim, D. et al. Dissolvable films of silk fibroin for ultrathin conformal bio-integrated electronics. Nat. Mater. 9, 511–517 (2010).

  11. 11.

    Yu, K. et al. Bioresorbable silicon electronics for transient spatiotemporal mapping of electrical activity from the cerebral cortex. Nat. Mater. 15, 782–791 (2016).

  12. 12.

    Kim, S. et al. Stretchable and transparent biointerface using cell-sheet-graphene hybrid for electrophysiology and therapy of skeletal muscle. Adv. Funct. Mater. 26, 3207–3217 (2016).

  13. 13.

    Viventi, J. et al. Flexible, foldable, actively multiplexed, high-density electrode array for mapping brain activity in vivo. Nat. Neurosci. 14, 1599–1605 (2011).

  14. 14.

    Lee, S. et al. A strain-absorbing design for tissue–machine interfaces using a tunable adhesive gel. Nat. Commun. 5, 5898 (2014).

  15. 15.

    Park, S. et al. Soft, stretchable, fully implantable miniaturized optoelectronic systems for wireless optogenetics. Nat. Biotechnol. 33, 1280–1286 (2015).

  16. 16.

    Hwang, S. et al. Materials and fabrication processes for transient and bioresorbable high-performance electronics. Adv. Funct. Mater. 23, 4087–4093 (2013).

  17. 17.

    Wang, C., Zhang, J. & Zhou, C. Macroelectronic integrated circuits using high-performance separated carbon nanotube thin-film transistors. ACS Nano 4, 7123–7132 (2010).

  18. 18.

    Kang, S. et al. High-performance electronics using dense, perfectly aligned arrays of single-walled carbon nanotubes. Nat. Nanotech. 2, 230–236 (2007).

  19. 19.

    Wang, C. et al. Extremely bendable, high-performance integrated circuits using semiconducting carbon nanotube networks for digital, analog, and radio-frequency applications. Nano Lett. 12, 1527–1533 (2012).

  20. 20.

    Chen, Z. et al. An integrated logic circuit assembled on a single carbon nanotube. Science 311, 1735–1735 (2006).

  21. 21.

    Sun, D. et al. Mouldable all-carbon integrated circuits. Nat. Commun. 4, 2302 (2013).

  22. 22.

    Chen, H., Cao, Y., Zhang, J. & Zhou, C. Large-scale complementary macroelectronics using hybrid integration of carbon nanotubes and IGZO thin-film transistors. Nat. Commun. 5, 4097 (2014).

  23. 23.

    Sun, D. et al. Flexible high-performance carbon nanotube integrated circuits. Nat. Nanotech. 6, 156–161 (2011).

  24. 24.

    Ding, L. et al. CMOS-based carbon nanotube pass-transistor logic integrated circuits. Nat. Commun. 3, 677 (2012).

  25. 25.

    Chen, B. et al. Highly uniform carbon nanotube field-effect transistors and medium scale integrated circuits. Nano Lett. 16, 5120–5128 (2016).

  26. 26.

    Yang, Y., Ding, L., Han, J., Zhang, Z. & Peng, L. High-performance complementary transistors and medium-scale integrated circuits based on carbon nanotube thin films. ACS Nano 11, 4124–4132 (2017).

  27. 27.

    Shulaker, M. et al. Carbon nanotube computer. Nature 501, 526–530 (2013).

  28. 28.

    Franklin, A. et al. Variability in carbon nanotube transistors: improving device-to-device consistency. ACS Nano 6, 1109–1115 (2012).

  29. 29.

    Lee, C., Kim, D. & Zheng, X. Fabrication of nanowire electronics on nonconventional substrates by water-assisted transfer printing method. Nano Lett. 11, 3435–3439 (2011).

  30. 30.

    Li, X. et al. Transfer of large-area graphene films for high-performance transparent conductive electrodes. Nano Lett. 9, 4359–4363 (2009).

  31. 31.

    Hwang, S. et al. High-performance biodegradable/transient electronics on biodegradable polymers. Adv. Mater. 26, 3905–3911 (2014).

  32. 32.

    Publications of International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS, 2013); http://www.itrs2.net

  33. 33.

    Cao, Q. et al. Medium-scale carbon nanotube thin-film integrated circuits on flexible plastic substrates. Nature 454, 495–500 (2008).

  34. 34.

    Cao, Q., Xia, M., Shim, M. & Rogers, J. Bilayer organic–inorganic gate dielectrics for high-performance, low-voltage, single-walled carbon nanotube thin-film transistors, complementary logic gates, and p–n diodes on plastic substrates. Adv. Funct. Mater. 16, 2355–2362 (2006).

  35. 35.

    Yu, W. et al. Small hysteresis nanocarbon-based integrated circuits on flexible and transparent plastic substrate. Nano Lett. 11, 1344–1350 (2011).

  36. 36.

    Chae, S. et al. Transferred wrinkled Al2O3 for highly stretchable and transparent graphene–carbon nanotube transistors. Nat. Mater. 12, 403–409 (2013).

  37. 37.

    Ha, M. et al. Printed, sub-3 V digital circuits on plastic from aqueous carbon nanotube Inks. ACS Nano 4, 4388–4395 (2010).

  38. 38.

    Geier, M. et al. Subnanowatt carbon nanotube complementary logic enabled by threshold voltage control. Nano Lett. 13, 4810–4814 (2013).

  39. 39.

    Sangwan, V. et al. Fundamental performance limits of carbon nanotube thin-film transistors achieved using hybrid molecular dielectrics. ACS Nano 6, 7480–7488 (2012).

  40. 40.

    Choi, S. et al. Short-channel transistors constructed with solution-processed carbon nanotubes. ACS Nano 7, 798–803 (2013).

  41. 41.

    Kim, S., Kim, S., Park, J., Ju, S. & Mohammadi, S. Fully transparent pixel circuits driven by random network carbon nanotube transistor circuitry. ACS Nano 4, 2994–2998 (2010).

  42. 42.

    Lin, Y., Appenzeller, J. & Avouris, P. Ambipolar-to-unipolar conversion of carbon nanotube transistors by gate structure engineering. Nano Lett. 4, 947–950 (2004).

  43. 43.

    Qiu, C. et al. Carbon nanotube feedback-gate field-effect transistor: suppressing current leakage and increasing on/off ratio. ACS Nano 9, 969–977 (2015).

  44. 44.

    Zhao, Y. et al. Three-dimensional flexible complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor logic circuits based on two-layer stacks of single-walled carbon nanotube networks. ACS Nano 10, 2193–2202 (2016).

  45. 45.

    Ha, M. et al. Aerosol jet printed, low voltage, electrolyte gated carbon nanotube ring oscillators with sub-5 μs stage delays. Nano Lett. 13, 954–960 (2013).

  46. 46.

    Honda, W., Arie, T., Akita, S. & Takei, K. Bendable CMOS digital and analog circuits monolithically integrated with a temperature sensor. Adv. Mater. Tech. 1, 1600058 (2016).

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants nos. 61571016 and 61621061), the National Key Research & Development Program (grant no. 2016YFA0201901) and the ‘Thousand Talents’ Program for pioneer researchers.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Key Laboratory for the Physics and Chemistry of Nanodevices and Department of Electronics, Peking University, Beijing, China

    • Li Xiang
    • , Heng Zhang
    • , Guodong Dong
    • , Donglai Zhong
    • , Jie Han
    • , Xuelei Liang
    • , Zhiyong Zhang
    • , Lian-Mao Peng
    •  & Youfan Hu

Authors

  1. Search for Li Xiang in:

  2. Search for Heng Zhang in:

  3. Search for Guodong Dong in:

  4. Search for Donglai Zhong in:

  5. Search for Jie Han in:

  6. Search for Xuelei Liang in:

  7. Search for Zhiyong Zhang in:

  8. Search for Lian-Mao Peng in:

  9. Search for Youfan Hu in:

Contributions

L.X. and Y.F.H. conceived the experiments. L.X. fabricated the devices, performed the electrical measurements, and analysed and interpreted the data with input from Y.F.H., H.Z., D.L.Z., Z.Y.Z. and L.-M.P. G.D.D., J.H. and X.L.L. prepared the CNT solutions and thin films. The manuscript was written with contributions from all authors, and all authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Youfan Hu.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Note 1, Supplementary Figures 1–13 and Supplementary Table 1.

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-018-0056-6