Researchers and display manufacturers have found a whole new family of materials, known as amorphous oxide semiconductors, to provide the speed and stability that next-generation TVs and computer monitors will require.
They”re amorphous because, like today”s silicon standby, they lack a regular crystalline structure, and they”re oxides because they”re made of oxygen compounded with two or three metals.
Amorphous oxides can form thin films that are transparent and electrically conductive, which is why they already serve as the see-through electrode layer in displays and solar cells. But amorphous oxides could also replace amorphous silicon as the active semiconducting material that does the heavy lifting as the channel in thin-film transistors.
The greatest thing about amorphous oxides is that charge can zip through them 20 to 40 times as fast as in amorphous silicon.
Second, unlike amorphous silicon, amorphous oxides can be deposited at low temperatures, which means they can be laid down or even printed on pliable plastic sheets to make paperlike displays.
Finally, because the materials are transparent, they could be used in electronic-ink screens that could be laminated on windshields, windows, and eyeglasses.