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article imageIndigo pigment offers special semiconductor properties

By Tim Sandle     Jun 15, 2017 in Technology
Austrian researchers have been looking into the uses of indigo pigment in electronics. This is because of the pigment possesses special semi-conductor properties.
Semiconductors are based on silicon, where the material is used for the production of semiconductor elements such as transistors, diodes or solar cells. Silicon is a hard and brittle crystalline solid with a blue-gray metallic luster. While silicon has been used for many years there are other materials will greater potential and some of these have been put into use. For example, some hydrocarbons are now the new standard in OLED displays of mobile phones and television sets.
The new research, Phys.org reports, has been led by Dr. Serdar Sarıçiftçi (a Turkish-Austrian physicist); the researcher has achieved a major a breakthrough in generating semiconductors related to the indigo pigment. These, based on tests, are very stable when exposed to air and under water.
In a research brief, Dr. Sarıçiftçi, who works at the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz, discusses how the development came about: "we were looking for semiconductor materials that are biodegradable. In the process we came across this biblical material known as indigo.”
Testing showed the indigo and its derivatives are capable of exhibiting true semiconductor properties. This tallies up with historical finds where indigo, used in the tombs of Pharaohs remains visible after thousands of years. The difficulty with commercializing indigo comes down to indigo being almost insoluble. This meant several trials with producing organic semiconductor elements. Eventually Dr. Sarıçiftçi was able to render the pigment soluble by binding volatile side groups to the indigo molecule.
It is hoped, following the stabilization, that indigo will become a game changer for a new generation of semiconductors to be used with future electronic devices. Another area is is with medical devices (bio-electronics); since indigo semiconductors can function well in fluids and within different types of acidic and alkali environments. One area, however, where the indigo semiconductors will be less effective is with solar power since too much heat is lost.
The research is published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C, under the title “Bioconjugation of hydrogen-bonded organic semiconductors with functional proteins.”
More about Semiconductor, Electronics, Indigo, pigment
 
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