Advanced Materials

Inorganic Semiconductors for Flexible Electronics


  • The work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant No. DEFG02-91-ER45439 and also partially supported by the Defense Advanced Projects Agency under Contract No. F8650-04-C-710. Devices were fabricated using the Microfabrication and Crystal Growth Facility in Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois, which is partially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant No. DEFG02-91-ER45439. Argonne National Laboratory's work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under contract DE-AC02-06CH11357.


This article reviews several classes of inorganic semiconductor materials that can be used to form high-performance thin-film transistors (TFTs) for large area, flexible electronics. Examples ranging from thin films of various forms of silicon to nanoparticles and nanowires of compound semiconductors are presented, with an emphasis on methods of depositing and integrating thin films of these materials into devices. Performance characteristics, including both electrical and mechanical behavior, for isolated transistors as well as circuits with various levels of complexity are reviewed. Collectively, the results suggest that flexible or printable inorganic materials may be attractive for a range of applications not only in flexible but also in large-area electronics, from existing devices such as flat-panel displays to more challenging (in terms of both cost and performance requirements) systems such as large area radiofrequency communication devices, structural health monitors, and conformal X-ray imagers.