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Organic electronics have the potential to revolutionize technology with their high cost-efficiency and versatility compared with more commonly used inorganic electronics. For example, their flexibility could allow companies to print them like paper or incorporate them into clothing to power wearable electronics. However, they have failed to gain much industry traction due to the difficulty of controlling their electronic structure.
To help address this challenge, Nick Jackson, a Maria Goeppert Mayer Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, has developed a faster way of creating molecular models by using machine learning. Jackson's models dramatically accelerate the screening of potential new organic materials for electronics and they could also be useful in other areas of materials science research.
Structure - Material - Efficiency - Manufacturing - Processes
The internal structure of an organic material affects its electrical efficiency. The current manufacturing processes used to produce these materials are sensitive, and the structures are extremely complex. This makes it difficult for scientists to predict the final structure and efficiency of the material based on manufacturing conditions. Jackson uses machine learning, a way of training a computer to learn a pattern without being explicitly programmed, to help make these predictions.
Jackson's research focuses on vapor deposition as a means to assemble materials for organic electronics. In this process, scientists evaporate an organic molecule and allow it to slowly condense on a surface, producing a film. By manipulating certain deposition conditions, the scientists can finely tune the way the molecules pack in the film.
Kind - Game - Tetris - Jackson - Molecules
"It's kind of like a game of Tetris," said Jackson. "The molecules can orient themselves in different ways, and our research aims to determine how that structure influences the electronic properties of the material."
The packing of the molecules in the film affects the material's charge mobility, a measure of how easily charges can move inside it. The charge mobility...
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