Organic electronics is a field of materials science concerning the design, synthesis, characterization, and application of organic small molecules or polymers that show desirable electronic properties such as conductivity. Unlike conventional inorganic conductors and semiconductors, organic electronic materials are constructed from organic (carbon-based) small molecules or polymers using synthetic strategies developed in the context of organic and polymer chemistry. One of the benefits of organic electronics is their low cost compared to traditional inorganic electronics.
Conductive materials are substances that can transmit electrical charges. Traditionally, most known conductive materials have been inorganic. Metals such as copper and aluminum are the most familiar conductive materials, and have high electrical conductivity due to their abundance of delocalized electrons that move freely throughout the inter-atomic spaces. Some metallic conductors are alloys of two or more metal elements, common examples of such alloys include steel, brass, bronze, and pewter.
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, people began to study the electrical conduction in metals. In his experiments with lightning, Benjamin Franklin proved that an electrical charge travels along a metallic rod. Later, Georg Simon Ohm discovered that the current passing through a substance is directly proportional to the potential difference, known as Ohm's law. This relationship between potential difference and current became a widely used measure of the ability of various materials to conduct electricity. Since the discovery of conductivity, studies have focused primarily on inorganic conductive materials with only a few exceptions.〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://science.jrank.org/pages/2321/Electrical-Conductivity-History.html )〕
Henry Letheby discovered the earliest known organic conductive material in 1862. Using anodic oxidation of aniline in sulfuric acid, he produced a partly conductive material, that was later identified as polyaniline. In the 1950s, the phenomenon that polycyclic aromatic compounds formed semi-conducting charge-transfer complex salts with halogens was discovered, showing that some organic compounds could be conductive as well.
More recent work has expanded the range of known organic conductive materials. A high conductivity of 1 S/cm (S = Siemens) was reported in 1963 for a derivative of tetraiodopyrrole. In 1972, researchers found metallic conductivity(conductivity comparable to a metal) in the charge-transfer complex TTF-TCNQ.
In 1977, it was discovered that polyacetylene can be oxidized with halogens to produce conducting materials from either insulating or semiconducting materials. In recent decades, research on conductive polymers has prospered, and the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Alan J. Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid, and Hideki Shirakawa jointly for their work on conductive polymers.〔(【引用サイトリンク】url=http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2000/ )〕
Conductive plastics have recently undergone development for applications in industry. In 1987, the first organic diode device of was produced at Eastman Kodak by Ching W. Tang and Steven Van Slyke. spawning the field of organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) research and device production. For his work, Ching W. Tang is widely considered as the father of organic electronics.
Technology for plastic electronics constructed on thin and flexible plastic substrates was developed in the 1990s. In 2000, the company Plastic Logic was founded as a spin-off of Cavendish Laboratory to develop a broad range of products using the plastic electronics technology.
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