Organic Electronics Advances as an Alternative to Silicon

The rational management of energy consumption has become more and more crucial because of the existing issues related to energy, such as climate change impact, high electricity bills or regional tensions among oil and gas producers.

Organic Electronics Advances as an Alternative to Silicon.
Researchers of the UMA study the possibility of altering carbon to create chips with a higher capacity than those used nowadays made of electronic silicon. They propose “spintronics” as an alternative for the current energy problems. Image Credit: University of Malaga.

Microelectronics is known to be the foundation for the operation of computers and all types of programmable electronic devices. To date, it has been, and is, based on silicon and the physics of the charge of the electron. Although they were suggestive of an unparalleled technological advance, they have started exhibiting signs of saturation due to the high energy usage linked with them.

The area of organic electronics has emerged as an alternative to silicon.

This is a type of technology that replaces the latter with organic matter, which completion would mean the elimination of energy costs in the production ofelectronic silicon’, apart from other limited minerals that are essential in its implementation, such as lithium.

Juan Casado Cordón, Researcher and Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Malaga

Cordón has guided a study analyzing the properties of carbon-based molecules for a new version of organic electronics: spintronics, which is denoted as microelectronics based on the electron spin, one of the properties, along with the charge of electrons.

The spin of the electron and its physical properties inherent in its quantum mechanical nature has taken center stage. The combination of the charge and spin of the electron constitutes a way of expanding the versatility and functionality of electronic materials, giving rise to the novel field of spintronics.

Juan Casado Cordón, Researcher and Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Malaga

Therefore, we progress through spintronics to manage to alter carbon in a way that it becomes as good at conducting electric current as silicon, which is used in electronics,” added Cordón.

According to this expert, the team has found how the flexible structure of a few organic molecules has the ability to modulate the spin state of the complete molecular system and, simultaneously, revealed a thermal mechanism of normal and reversed spin mobility by vibrations — some coordinated movements of atoms — of the carbon skeleton.

Finding alternative organic structures to silicon that are capable of modulating their spin state may represent, through spintronics, a necessary solution to the current energy problems.

Juan Casado Cordón, Researcher and Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Malaga

Potential Implementation in Real Devices

Similarly, this study, to which the University of Bologna (Italy) and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China also contributed, examined other intrinsic properties of matter other than the electric charge.

The study outcomes were reported in the scientific journal Nature Communications. It was developed with the help of the Vibrational Spectroscopy Unit of the Central Research Services. Sergio Moles, the young researcher of the Faculty of Science, performed a majority of the experimental study.

Looking for other flexible organic molecules along with complementary mechanisms of spin-vibration coupling and the likelihood of polarizing electrons of other neighboring molecules in the solid state, by altering the vibrational state, are among some of the long-term goals of this group. The team hopes to implement it in real devices.

Spintronics could help Malaga turn into a benchmark for futuristic technology.

Journal Reference:

Shen, Y., et al. (2021) Normal & reversed spin mobility in a diradical by electron-vibration coupling. Nature Communications.


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