Minor tweak doubles efficiency of organic electronics

Double-doping, a technique developed by researchers in Sweden, benefits many carbon-based technologies

Examples of organic electronics: flexible solar cells (left, supplied by Epishine AB), electronic paper (center) and piezoelectric textiles (right). Photomontage: Johan Bodell/Chalmers University of Technology

A group of researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology have discovered a simple tweak that could benefit many carbon-based technologies, including OLED TVs, plastic-based solar panels and bioelectronics.

Dubbed double-doping, the new technique has shown to increase the efficiency of organic semiconductors.

Doping is a process that weaves an impurity into a semiconductor to change the conductivity.

In organics semiconductors, doping is done by removing one electron through a redox reaction, increasing the conductivity of the material.

The new simple technique, instead, enables two electrons to be removed, hence increasing the conductivity further.

The discovery could be the tipping point to commercialise organic-based technologies that today are not competitive enough to make it to market. Researchers believe double-doping could bring organic electronics a step closer in funtionality to inorganics.

Christian Müller, a professor of Polymer Science at the Swedish University, said: “This innovation is not built on some great technical achievement. Instead, it is simply a case of seeing what others have not seen.”